Volume 10, No. 1 Fall 1989
>cOoman Governors State University, University Park, IL 60466 - 3193
Published under the auspices of the provosts office,
© 1989 governors state university and helen hughes
ISSN 0736 - 4733
Helen E. Hughes, Editor
Suzanne Oliver, Art Director
Barbara Conant, Library Resources
Cynthia Ogorek, Editorial Assistant
Priscilla Rockwell, Editorial Consultant
Lynne Hostetter, Word Processing
Linda Kuester, Word Processing
Glenda Baily-Mershon, Illinois NOW/National Organization for Women, Oak Park, IL
Donna Bandstra, Healthgroup International, Sherman Oaks, CA
Margaret Brady, Social Sciences, Horrtewood, IL
Rev. Ellen Dohner Livingston, Religion, Unitarian Society of Ponoma Valley, CA
Rita Durrant, League of American Penwomen, Doylestown, PA
Deborah Garretson, Counseling, Muncie, IN
Temmie Gilbert, Theatre/ Media, Governors State University
Linda Grace-Kobas, Journalism, University of Buffalo, N.Y.
Harriet Gross, Sociology/Women 's Studies, Governors State University
Helene N. Guttman, Biological Sciences, Bethesda, M.D.
Bethe Hagens, Anthropology, Governors State University
Barbara Jenkins, Psychology, Governors State University
Betye Saar, Fine Arts, Hollywood, CA
Terri Schwartz, Psychology, Governors State University
Sara Shumer, Political Theory, Haverford College, PA
Lynn Thomas Strauss, Women's Studies/Parenting, Oak Park, IL
Emily Wasiolek, Literature, Prairie State College, Chicago Heights, IL
TABLE OF CONTENTS
4 What is a Heart For? by Lynn Thomas Strauss
6 An Empowered Woman of Color: Amy Jacques Garvey by Addie Harris
10 Poems by Barbara M. Simon
11 A Black Woman's Bio by Collette Armstead
12 Sisterhood, fiction by Greta Gaard
15 Poems by Linda Pessolano
16 Violated, fiction by Marilyn Coffey
20 Henrietta Crandall: Painter
22 Poems by Deborah Garretson
23 Rebecca Drake addresses the Rally
24 Michiko Itatani: Contemporary Painter
26 Poems by Brenda Tao Lee Nesbit, Deborah Garretson, and Barbara M. Simon
27 Book Review: High Blood Pressure, reviewed by Terri Jewell
28 Book Review: My Place, reviewed by Mary E. Howes
31 Book Review: Poppie Nongena, reviewed by Sonya Monroe
34 Book Review: Daughters of Copper Woman, reviewed by Michele McMaster
36 Peace Spirits: Planethood by Helen E. Hughes
38 About Our Friends
44 Editor's Column by Helen E. Hughes
The Creative Woman is published three times a year by Governors
State University. We focus on a special topic in each issue, presented
from a feminist perspective. We celebrate the creative achievements of
women in many fields and appeal to inquiring minds. We publish
fiction, poetry, book reviews, articles, photography and original graphics.
It seems appropriate that with this issue on the theme of Planethood we move through the Fall
calendar closer to the season of lights, of celebration, and of the annual reminders of our long-
ing for Peace on Earth. Peace rests upon justice. Peace requires understanding, especially under-
standing of the differences that divide us. And peace can come to fruition only within a struc-
ture of international law and a means to resolve conflicts non-violently. In this issue we address
Lynn Thomas Strauss opens this issue with her appeal to us to learn to use our hearts as well as
our heads as we confront injustices and differences. Marilyn Coffey reminds us of the vulnera-
bility that women feel in contemporary urban society. Greta Gaard's story, "Sisterhood," asks us
to consider the limitations placed on our feminist values by a class-ridden society. Addie Harris
rescues from oblivion Amy Garvey who played a role in African-American history. We offer the
work of two painters, Michiko Itatani and Henrietta Crandall, new poets, the remarks of a pro-
choice advocate at the NOW rally in Springfield, and book reviews that examine the lives of
women of color in Australia, South Africa and the United States.
Readers are invited to get involved by ordering their own copies of Planethood, by Ferencz and
Keyes, introduced in the "Peace Spirits" column. (see page 36)
Does this assemblage of voices help us to learn to "use our hearts?" Have our writers explicated
the argument that peace can come only with justice, understanding and planetary law? Readers:
WHAT IS A HEART FOR?
Lynn Thomas Strauss
When, as a child, I was learning new skills or
making small, first time decisions, I remember
the suggestion so often made by my parents and
teachers. They would watch me struggle for a
while with my shoelaces, over a long division
problem, or over what outfit to wear to the party.
They would watch, their impatience growing,
knowing that I must learn to do it myself, yet
wanting to be of help... they would finally offer
the tried and true advice: "Come on... Use your
"Use your head!" I remember this admonishment
offered again and again, even though I rarely
understood what the adults meant, or how it
would help to use my head to tie my shoes or
prepare for a party. And certainly in the case of
long division, couldn't they see that I was trying
like crazy to do just that?
A friend of mine remembers... the confusion and
pain of another kind of learning of life. She
remembers not knowing what to do when she
saw the "winos" who were asleep in the door-
ways she passed on her way to high school. She
remembers wanting to run from her girlfriend's
mother; being afraid of her, because of her thick
German accent. And she did not understand
herself when she walked a full block out of her
way to avoid seeing the small "hillbilly" children
playing barefoot among the broken glass and
garbage in the alley.
In these learnings parents and teachers offered
no advice, played no role, no one was looking
over her shoulder telling her to "use her head."
She was left alone to figure things out the best
she could. I wonder why adults didn't help her
more, didn't explain, or offer suggestions or
admonitions on how to act or feel about the
diverse neighborhood in which she grew up.
We've all faced similar experiences and wished
for more guidance.
Adults might have said, "use your heart" in
much the same way they said "use your head."
"Use your heart." We may not have understood
that advice very well either, or we might have
tried and failed to use our hearts... but perhaps it
would have helped. Perhaps we would have
learned to trust our feelings more, to encounter
people who were different from ourselves rather
than run away. We might have become more
caring and giving people with hearts always
open to the hearts of others. And our lives might
have been enriched, and the world made a better
place because of our open hearts.
Over the years, I did learn to use my head, but
I'm still a beginner in using my heart. I'm still a
beginner in learning to live in our diverse world
and not hide from those who are different from
myself... not run from those who are in pain or in
Many of us have hid and run at times and have
counted on our heads rather than our hearts to
get us through the difficult moments. But what is
a heart for? We, along with other western relig-
ions and our culture at large, have experienced a
severing of our hearts from our heads. The head
has been well used, but the heart has too often
been ignored, set aside, left bleeding unattended
causing a nagging, painful throbbing. We have
all suffered from this unnatural separation of
parts of ourselves. Our human bodies continue to
function, though inadequately. And we have
often literally gasped for air, needing the life
blood that could only come from the neglected
heart. And most noticeably our spirit has suf-
fered. We have indeed been poorer in spirit as a
result of encountering the world with our heads
alone. Yet our hearts beat on... stubbornly await-
ing the time when more and more of us will
become attuned to its rhythm and its demand.
And that time is approaching. More and more of
us are in search of healing and wholeness. We
want to embrace all of our gifts, all of our
strengths as humans and all of our weaknesses
too. We want our head and our heart to be in
balance. We want to be in harmony with other
living things. We want to learn to live as whole
people celebrating our sacred place in the cos-
As we move in this direction, there is a new
spirit alive and abounding. Many of us are ex-
ploring our spiritual depths and rediscovering
the joys of solitude. While claiming our place
within the interdependent web of existence, we
deepen our experience of living and nourish our
spirit, releasing renewed creative energies into
the world. More and more of us are learning
what the heart is for. More and more of us
understand ourselves as religious people, to be
people who love. We love life as fully and deeply
as we can. We love ourselves and our many gifts.
We love others and we try to be open to receiv-
ing their love. And we are learning to love the
whole world. To love Mother Earth and all of her
We also are learning that loving is the work of
many lifetimes. That we cannot one by one love
enough to heal the wounds of the earth. But we
now remember that we must become a commu-
nity of lovers. We must cooperate and coalesce
and interconnect and build shoulder to shoulder
with others who love. We must love from one
generation to another and teach the way of
loving to our children. For the healing needed in
our world will take many generations.
We share with others a deep appreciation for the
beauty and grandeur of the world of which we
are a part. We share a sense of responsibility for
our world and a commitment to struggle against
the injustice and suffering that touches so many
lives. This struggle grows from a vision of the
possibilities of life, a hopefulness that creation
and rebirth are ongoing, that change and healing
are as much a part of life as suffering and death.
And we share a trust that we can make a differ-
ence; that our lives can contribute in some small
way to the realization of this vision. That in add-
ing our love to the love of others more and more
healing can occur. This kind of reaching out and
connecting to the best energies of other individu-
als and organizations committed to social change
and justice for all people happens in many ways.
When it happens we experience the power of the
head and the heart working in unison.
This new holistic energy which is at work today,
this synthesis of the mind and the heart, has of
course occurred at other points in history. In
order to understand something of the power of
this kind of synthesis, I hope that you will think
of the places and times in your own lives that
you have acted in the service of others. Every act
of service is an act of both the head and the
heart — for we choose to serve, we make a deci-
sion and sometimes a commitment to serve. To
serve from the heart means of course more than
a decision or a will to serve, it means opening
our hearts... not just to faceless suffering people
in a far away land, but to people who may be
threatening to us simply because they are so
different from ourselves. Like the sometimes
scary worlds of our youth, we may be frightened
and ignorant and without advice... to act from
the heart is never easy... and to serve others well,
we must often face our own fears and limita-
Sometimes the motivation to serve comes from
anger at the injustice at hand. Many of us served
in the civil rights movement or the anti-war
movement with the energy of our anger.
Sometimes the motivation to serve comes from
the guilt of a liberal who knows that he or she
has more than their share of earth's resources.
Sometimes the motivation to serve grows from
our role as parents or teachers or counselors.
And sometimes the motivation to serve comes
because it feels right... grows out of love for our
fellow human beings and emerges from our own
strong sense of gratitude for all that we have
There are as many motivations for serving as
there are people who serve, and considering our
motivations may be a step in healing our own
Think about the giving that you do daily in your
life. Remember the larger causes that you have
served. Consider your motivations and wonder if
you are finding enough places to express your
love for your fellow human beings and your
gratitude for the blessings of your life.
The work of healing and wholeness has just
begun. We can learn what a heart is for and we
can pass that lesson on to our children. Perhaps
we can offer more than advice or admonitions,
perhaps we can offer an example of our own
lives of service. We can join in a new generation
Let us be grateful to all those who do the work
of peace and justice and healing on behalf of us
all. Long enough have we used only our heads.
Now that we are beginning to know what a heart
is for, let us through service to others enrich and
nourish our own spirit as well.
Lynn Thomas Strauss was managing editor of The Creative
Woman from 1978 to 1983. She is now finishing her studies
for the ministry at Meadville Lombard Theological School,
University of Chicago.
AN EMPOWERED WOMAN OF
COLOR: AMY JACQUES GARVEY
The concept of empowerment is hardly new to
African American women. Slaves ran away from
their masters, participated in revolt, and as indi-
viduals used daily acts of subversion in their
quest for empowerment. Free Black women
fought for abolition and helped slaves to escape.
For almost a century, African American women
have been organized in bodies developing strate-
gies that showed the way to economic and politi-
cal power for themselves and their communities.
After being ignored by the Womens' Rights
Movement, Black women organized their own
Club Movement. In 1895, five years after the
founding of the General Federation of Women's
Clubs, which consolidated a club movement on
the concerns of middle class white women, one
hundred Black women from ten states met in the
city of Boston, under the leadership of Josephine
St. Pierre Ruffin, to discuss the creation of a
national organization of Black women's clubs.
When the meeting was convened, the Black
women said that, unlike their white sisters,
whose organizational policies were racist, their
movement would be open to all women:
Our woman's movement is woman's movement
in that it is led and directed by women for the
good of women and men, for the benefit of all
humanity, which is more than any one branch or
section of it. We want, we ask the active interest
of our men, and, too, we are not drawing the
color line; we are women, American women, as
intensely interested in all that pertains to us as
such as all other American women; we are not
alienating or withdrawing, we are only coming
to the front, willing to join any others in the
same work and cordially inviting and welcom-
ing any others to join us. 1
Fannie B. Williams, in a book titled A New Negro
for a New Century, wrote of the differences be-
tween the two groups:
The club movement among colored women
reaches into the sub-social condition of the
entire race. Among white women clubs mean
the forward movement of the best women in the
interests of the best womanhood. Among
colored women the club is the effort of the few
competent in behalf of the many incompetent;
that is to say that the club is only one of the
means for the social uplift of a race. Among
white women the club is the onward movement
of the already uplifted. . .
Amy Jacques Garvey
While the National Federation of Women's
Clubs has served as a guide and inspiration to
colored women, the club movement among
[black] people is something deeper than a mere
imitation of white women. It is nothing less
than the organized anxiety of women who have
become intelligent enough to initiate the forces
of reform. 2
The motto chosen by the Association was "Lift-
ing As We Climb".
Empowerment is currently a fashionable term,
particularly as it refers to individual self-asser-
tion, upward mobility, or the psychological expe-
rience of "feeling powerful." 3
One such empowered individual was a woman
of color, Amy Jacques Garvey (1896-1973). She
was born in Jamaica. In one of her last inter-
views, she said that the biggest influence in her
life was her father. He was well educated;
therefore, he wanted her to have a good educa-
tion. He subscribed to international magazines,
journals, and newspapers. After she learned
how to read, on Sundays he would give her a
dictionary and insist that she read properly, with
the proper emphasis on words. He also taught
her how certain things affected them and how
they affected the world. She felt that she was
well trained as a child, with a broad outlook on
life that served her well later on in life. 4
Amy's far-reaching mind led her to seek addi-
tional education in the United States and it was
there, just after World War I, that she had her
first contact with Marcus Garvey. Although at
that time she had no personal motivation to join
the "Black Struggle," she did go, at the urging
of a friend, to hear Garvey speak. She was
impressed by his dedication, honesty and
leadership ability and when introduced to him
she offered both praise and criticism. Garvey
listened and he invited her to the headquarters
of his newly formed Universal Negro Improve-
ment Association (UNIA) so that he could
explain the background of the movement.
Amy's cool all-business mind and organizational
ability soon became apparent to Garvey and he
enlisted her to organize UNIA books and set up
a badly needed system of operation. Later she
became his private secretary. 5
The UNIA was founded by Marcus Garvey in
Kingston, Jamaica on July 20, 1914. It was con-
ceived as a benevolent or fraternal reform asso-
ciation dedicated to racial uplift and the estab-
lishment of educational and industrial opportuni-
ties for Blacks. Garvey had heard of Booker T.
Washington and how he dedicated himself to
teaching his people after they were freed from
slavery. He wrote to Washington and told him
how much he admired him and his work and
asked if he could come to see how he ran his
school and if it was possible to help him establish
a similar school.
Encouraged by Booker T. Washington, Garvey
had come to America hoping to gather support
for a proposed school, to be built in Jamaica,
patterned on the model of the famed Tuskegee
Institute. By the time Garvey could get to the
United States, however, Washington was dead.
Garvey started with a nucleus of thirteen in a
dingy Harlem lodge room. Within a few short
years, he was catapulted to the front rank of
black leadership, at the head of a social move-
ment unprecedented in black history for its sheer
size and scope. 6
Amy Jacques and Marcus Garvey were married
in July, 1922. This was Garvey's second wife.
His first wife was also named Amy, Amy Ash-
Garvey was drawn to strong women who could
help him. Amy Jacques, also from Jamaica, was
also very attractive and proved equally useful.
Their marriage lasted until Garvey's death be-
cause Amy Jacques chose to invest her strength
and talents in her husband's career. She defined
her role as Garvey's comforter and surrogate,
whereas Amy Ashwood had viewed herself
more as an equal. According to Ashwood, she
left Garvey in the summer of 1921, after a period
of separation, when she discovered Garvey and
Amy Jacques living together. Amy Jacques said
that her romance with Garvey began after he
had made the decision to divorce Amy Ash-
wood. Jacques explained that Garvey would
have preferred an American wife, to "please the
people." He turned to Jacques because she
could be "a stand-in in an emergency." Al-
though Jacques' story strains credulity some-
what, the qualities she claimed Garvey was
seeking were certainly ones she displayed as his
wife. She played an active role in all the fac-
tional fights and was Garvey's surrogate when
he was away from New York, when he was in
prison, and later after his death. 7
Amy Jacques Garvey also said that Garvey did
not marry her for love. He needed someone
whom he could trust because the lives and
opportunities of all those people would be in her
hands if he was imprisoned or assassinated. He
wanted to know there would be someone who
would carry the message when he was gone;
someone who could not be bought at any price.
Amy Jacques Garvey, unlike Amy Ashwood,
never held an office in the UNIA. Her impor-
tance was second only to Marcus Garvey. Her
varying activities included the following: she
was the secretary of the Negro Factories Corpora-
tion; she also edited "Our Women and What
They Think." On this Woman's Page, the editori-
als, articles, interviews and letters to the editor
had themes of dedication to social justice and
nationalism. There were other themes such as
the third world, national liberation struggles,
feminist struggles, modernization and the contri-
bution of Black women to the Black Movement.
Her Women's Page was a fierce dedication to the
Black movement and particularly the relation of
Black women to the Black Movement. She wrote
this about the uniqueness of her Women's Page:
Usually a Women's Page is any journal devoted
solely to dress, home hints and love topics but
our Page is unique in that it seeks to give out the
thoughts of our women on all subjects affecting
them in particular and others in general. This
pleases the modern Negro woman, who believes
that God Almighty has not limited her intellect
because of her sex...
By your contributions you will be showing the
world the worth and ability of Negro women,
and gain the appreciation of our own men
whose lives are guided by our influence and
who get inspiration from us. 8
Discussion of Black women took place on two
levels: 1) Black women were discussed in rela-
tion to the family and the survival of Black folk;
2) Black women were discussed in relation to
Black leadership and the overall Movement to
"Our Women and What They Think" carried
international news about the status of women,
poetry and profiles of leading Black women.
Black female historical figures, such as Harriet
Tubman and Sojourner Truth, were portrayed as
models of the high ideals of Black womanhood.
There was a lot of discussion during that time of
the "New Negro," and "New Negro Woman-
hood". The essence of the "New Negro Woman"
1) work on a par with men in the office and
platform; 2) practice thrift and economy; 3) teach
constructive race doctrine to children; 4) demand
absolute respect from all men; 5) teach the
young to love their race first. In sum, the "New
Negro Woman" revolutionized the old type of
male leadership. 9
There was a sentiment expressed in the UNIA
that women were to play, at most, a supporting
role to that of the men. Often women members
of the UNIA objected to these sentiments. Amy
Jacques Garvey showed her dissatisfaction with
the men of the UNIA by writing the following:
If the United States Senate and Congress can
open their doors to white women, we serve
notice on our men that Negro women will
demand equal opportunity to fill any position in
the Universal Negro Improvement Association
or anywhere else without discrimination because
of sex. We are very sorry if it hurts your old-
fashioned tyrannical feelings, and we not only
make the demand, but we intend to enforce it. 10
There were also columns by and about members
of the women's auxiliaries.
Mrs. Garvey emerged as a major propagandist
for Garvey during the period of his trial, convic-
tion, and imprisonment on mail fraud charges
(1923-1927). In an effort to improve Garvey's
reputation and raise funds to pay for his de-
fense, she published two volumes of his
speeches and writings as Philosophy and
Opinions. She acted as his personal representa-
tive while he was in prison, traveling to speak at
local UNIA divisions throughout the country,
meeting with public officials and UNIA officers
to carry out his directions, and organizing UNIA
conferences and affairs. 11
Amy Jacques Garvey posted a fifteen-thousand
dollar bail to free her husband. In a speech to
five-thousand cheering men, women, and chil-
dren at Liberty Hall in New York, Garvey
thanked his wife, whom he said had worked for
him against the advice of those who said that
they would stand by him, but did not.
She and Garvey toured England, France, and
Germany in the spring and summer of 1928. At
the Century Theatre in London, she shared the
platform with her husband and made a moving
plea for tolerance and sympathetic understand-
ing from the White world. "Our appeal as Black
people is for you to learn more about us as a
race. We are not asking charity of you, because
we believe in self help; we believe that as a race
of people struggling onward and upward, we
must of ourselves lift ourselves up; and all we
ask you is that you treat us kindly and decently."
While traveling she wrote articles for the Negro
world about her impressions.
She gave birth to Marcus Mosiah Garvey, Jr.,
and Julius Winston Garvey in 1930 and 1933.
She stayed behind in Jamaica when Garvey
moved to England in 1934; she took the children
to join him there in 1937, but because of the
failing health of Marcus Garvey, Jr., she re-
turned to Jamaica while Garvey was away at the
1938 convention in Canada. After Garvey's
death in 1940, Jacques became a contributing
editor to a black nationalist journal, The African,
published in Harlem in the 1940's, and estab-
lished the African Study Circle of the World in
Jamaica in the late 1940's. She published Garvey
and Garveyism in 1963. 13
In 1960 Lerone Bennett interviewed the two Mrs.
Among many people who feel recent events
vindicate the little giant are the two women
named Amy. Garvey's widow, Amy Jacques,
and his first wife, Amy Ashwood, contend that
he was a prophetic figure who lived 40 years
before his time. Garvey, they say, did two
vitally important things: 1) he went to the heart
of the race problem by ripping away the shame
and inferiority that were stunting the growth of
the black men; 2) he focused attention on Africa
when black nationalism was dormant. 14
This is what the two women had to say about the
Back to Africa Movement.
Amy Ashwood says flatly that back-to- African-
ism, which most laymen consider a central tenet
of Garveyism, is outmoded. She says: "I don't
believe the back-to- Africa movement would be
valid for American Negroes today. I rather
think that the Booker T. Washington philosophy
of drop-your-bucket-where-you-are should
permeate American Negroes. After Marcus
Garvey had returned millions to Africa spiritu-
ally, he had done his work. It was finished in
the real sense". 15
Amy Jacques says:
It is a sensational misunderstanding of Garvey
to imply that he advocated back-to- Africanism.
"People misunderstood him. As a matter of
fact, the term, "Back-to- Africa, " was used and
promoted by newspapers, Negro newspapers
mostly, to ridicule Garvey. There was no Back-
to-Africa movement except in a spiritual sense.
But migration was planned to Liberia because
concessions were given there. The idea was to
take only enough to establish a township as an
example and pattern for Africans. He never
advocated mass migration. The idea is ridicu-
Empowering is also knowing that you are worth-
while and can make significant contributions and
having others realize the same.
Amy Jacques Garvey was one of the most re-
markable and empowered women in history.
Her contribution to the Negro world was signifi-
cant. But, more importantly, her thoughts and
activities illuminated the intelligence and com-
plexity of Black women in the Garvey Move-
Angela Davis, "Radical Perspectives on the Empowerment of
Afro-American Women: Lessons for the 1980V' (Harvard
Educational Review, 58 August, 1988), 348.
Mark D. Matthews, "Our Women and What They Think, Amy
Jacques Garvey and the Negro World" (Black Scholar, 10 May/
June, 1979), 8.
Ann Bookman and Sandra Morgen, eds., Women and the
Politics of Empowerment (Philadelphia: Temple University
Press, 1984), 4.
Ida Lewis, "Mrs. Marcus Garvey Talks with Ida Lewis"
(Encore, May, 1973), 68.
Beverly Reed, "Black, Beautiful and Free" (Ebony, 26 June,
Robert A. Hill, ed., Marcus Garvey: Life and Lessons (Los
Angeles: University of California Press, 1987).
Judith Stein, The World of Marcus Garvey: Race and Class in
Modern Society (Louisiana: Louisiana State University
Mark D. Matthews, "Our Women and What They Think, Amy
Jacques Garvey and the Negro World" (Black Scholar, 10 May/
June, 1979), 5.
Robert A. Hill, ed., Marcus Garvey: Life and Lessons (Los
Angeles: University of California Press, 1987), 1%.
Black Moses: The Story of Marcus Garvey and the Negro
Universal Improvement Association (Wisconsin: Wisconsin Press,
Robert A. Hill, ed., Marcus Garvey: Life and Lessons (Los
Angeles: University of California Press, 1987), 196.
Lerone Bennett, Jr., "The Ghost of Marcus Garvey: Interviews
with Crusader's Two Wives" (Ebony, March, 1960), 53-61.
Addie Harris is a retired reference librarian and subject
specialist. She is one of the founders of Harsh Researchers
of Chicago History and holds office in the State Universities
Internationalism does not mean the end of individual
nations. Orchestras don't mean the end of violins.
Prime Minister of Israel
PROMISES: FOR MAGGIE
Within the week our world turned full
green and robins rose,
a swirl of votive flares
from the sacristy of my newly planted garden
Incense heavy lilac and lily
drifted in breezes
mild as communion veils.
In the late afternoon benediction of light,
I studied the confession of shadows playing
over the rough pink patio bricks,
as I waited
for my child. Twelve
years ago, her every breath
moved me. Her heart beat
the measure of sparrows' songs;
she turned with the flutter of
petals falling from my apple tree.
She's unfolded, climbed the
trellis of my love until
today, the rose is on her vine
for her to accept the promises
of her nature as I trust
the dogwood's burning ember bud
will flower; as I believe
the bloodied peony nub
will burst to bridal tulle.
Barbara M. Simon
EARLY LAST SPRING
This is the green and waiting time —
time to fall back into the paisley
wings of the overstuffed chair, hours
to cradle in the earthy warmth of your gaze
the child and husband you'll leave;
minutes to trace the bloodied ribbon
of memory through bandages wrapping
your chest like a lover's arms
back to the cold white room, the
machines and the order, a diagnosis
given casually as a recipe:
And it all meant nothing. So,
now you rest in the fragile eggshell light
your bones burning like stars
through the milky shield
of your skin. Exhausted,
breath dragging like the end of winter,
you begin to gather yourself,
accept the rasping caress,
smile as if this weren't goodbye,
while through it all, inside
your cancer spreads its wings
and crows and crows.
Barbara M. Simon
A BLACK WOMAN'S BIO
There is one basic philosophical premise that I
can be sure of today and reasonably sure of to-
morrow: Everything is political.
Name: Collette Armstead
My father named me after a white woman that
he fantasized about when he was in the Air
Force (1953) in Greenland. The possibility of
changing the name has flickered in and out of
my consciousness over the years. When I rumi-
nate over the process, I get very tired. I harbor a
deep-seated anger against my mother for letting
my father name me. The irony of it is that
maybe, when my mother thought about him
calling me Collette, the same kind of tired feeling
came over her. (Everything is political, even the
Address: 4602 North Monticello, Apt. 3W,
Chicago, IL 60625
After 26 years of living on Chicago's Southside, I
am now living on the Northwest side of the city.
If you have grown up on the Southside of Chi-
cago you would realize the consequence of the
following statement. (Everything is political,
where you live says something about you.) I live
on the Northwest side because: 1) It is close to
where I go to school. 2) I thrive in a multi-
cultural environment. 3) I have the good fortune
to love a man who told me to lie about my being
Publication Credits: Pamoja, Cumbaya, Urban
Focus, The Chicago Observer, The Hampton-Clark
The major white (male) publications won't
publish you if you're too black, too female or too
poor (so I hear). The white (female) publications
are intent on co-opting or have become just as
entrenched as the white (male) publications. The
black (male) publications cry that they're over-
whelmed by manuscripts and they "ain't ac-
ceptin' no feminist bullshit." The black (female)
publications, well you have to know someone.
None of ya'll pay! (Everything is political. The
idea that freedom of press exists in America is an
absurd notion to me. I have heard too many
writers willing and capable of making contribu-
tions who are rarely published and never read.)
I write about yellow roses, black swans, great
gray lakes, and the possibility of having to eat
dandelions to survive. I write about the beach in
the summer, the block in the spring, and an
elderly woman who huddles alone around her
stove in winter. I write about being a woman a
lot. I write about being black just as much. I
rarely write about being poor. I haven't learned
to surmount that "ism" yet. (Everything is
political. I define my work as political/art. My
landscape is not limited merely specific. If I can
bring you into my world for the time of the
poem, I have succeeded.)
Age: I told you that.
Education: Northeastern Illinois University,
Sophomore, Major: English,
Minor: Secondary Education
I'm kinda old to just be a sophomore in college,
but some come to it late and some never come to
it at all. My major is English because I have an
obsession with recording my life, the lives
around me, the lives I invent and the lives that
come to me in pieces in my dreams. I also
majored in English because a couple of people
told me that I can write. I figured, go with what
you know. I minored in Secondary Education
because my mother shook her head (negatively)
when I hinted at minoring in Inner City Studies.
I decided Secondary Education as a concession to
her advanced age as well as my own. (Every-
thing is political, and everybody has to eat.)
In Love and Struggle,
This high-ceilirtged room shelters a cherry-wood
four poster bed, a bureau covered with lace and
photographs, a wing-backed chair, several large
houseplants, a full-length antique mirror.
Nestled snugly beneath layers of quilts and
electric blankets, a woman lazily shifts positions,
somewhat disturbing the two cats who seem to
bob on a sea of bedcoverings. Outside, the
January winds — known in Minnesota as the
"arctic cold front" — howl powerlessly past the
window of this sleeping woman.
Two miles away, the arctic winds force entry
through the cracks around the windows, the
space beneath the door of an upstairs apart-
ment. This two -room dwelling could fit inside the
bedroom of the other sleeper. Here, on a couch
in the front room, an older woman tosses rest-
lessly beneath two overcoats, while in the back
room, a young woman futilely attempts to quiet
a sobbing infant.
At 9:30 that morning, Renee flings back the
covers of the four poster, pulls on a thick blue-
and-green bathrobe, and shuffles in matching
slippers towards the kitchen. Soon the aroma of
French roast coffee wafts invitingly through the
condo. Studying her datebook, Renee plans the
day: tan, 10:30-11:00; prepare for class, 11:00-
1:00; teach, 1:00-5:00; work out, 5:00-6:30. She
sees there is a discussion on ageism that evening
at the feminist bookstore, and decides to attend.
Perhaps Mari would like to go too, she reflects,
reaching for the touch-tone telephone.
After the door closes behind her mother, Denise
looks around the apartment with relief. Her
mother won't return from the bar until early
evening, which gives Denise time to straighten
up the apartment before going to her waitressing
job. A noise from the back room: it is the baby,
pounding Denise's worn shoe against the lino-
leum. Realizing she must choose between the
noise of shoe-pounding or the child's sobbing,
Denise turns to the hotplate and reaches for a
rag to clean up the spilled milk.
Driving to the tanning salon, Renee mentally re-
views her introductory lecture for the business
writing course that afternoon. Should she pres-
ent varying approaches to memo writing in this
session, or save it for next week? Absent-
mindedly, Renee parks the silver Saab across
from the salon and dashes out of the car, nearly
forgetting to lock the door. In her haste, Renee
does not notice when her wallet slides out of her
coat pocket, nor does she look back to see it lying
in the snow.
At last, the baby falls asleep, and Denise begins
to dress for work, changing from the grey
sweatpants and pullover she has slept in to an
orange and brown uniform. Searching through a
cardboard box, Denise selects a pair of panty-
hose with snags but no holes. There is a knock
at the door. Quickly closing the door to the back
room to prevent the baby from waking, she
glances at the clock — too early for work. Stalling
for time, Denise slips noiselessly into the bath-
room to check her appearance in the mirror.
There's only one person it could be. Sighing, she
replaces the brush on the basin, her hair only
partially untangled. To more impatient knocking,
Denise opens the door. A tall man in a leather
jacket enters the apartment, closing the door
behind him. He asks softly, "Want to make some
Renee adjusts the towel wrapped around her
damp hair and begins stacking papers. It is noon;
class begins at 1:15. She will have just enough
time to style her hair, drive to class, and chat
with the new students before the session begins.
After packing her briefcase with the papers
neatly paperclipped together, Renee searches one
coat pocket, then the other. Puzzled, she goes to
the living room and checks her other briefcase,
then the cracks between the couch cushions.
Nothing. Renee calls the tanning salon and
speaks with the beach beauty at the front desk,
who cheerfully replies, "Nope. Sorry." Grabbing
her coat and keys, Renee decides to retrace her
steps, and leaves the condo with the towel still
wrapped around her damp curls.
In Denise's apartment, the man unzips his
leather jacket and tosses a blue wallet onto the
couch. He paces back and forth in the tiny
space, and the argument begins. The cash is
hers now, Lenny says, opening the wallet and
placing two $20 bills beside it on the couch.
Denise glances hungrily at the money, then turns
away. Using credit cards is too risky, she objects.
He counters, reasons, and finally threatens. Den-
ise picks up the wallet and glances through it.
Visa, Dayton's, Mobile, American Express; mem-,
bership cards for organizations she's never heard
of— Friends of Animals, Young Socialists, Min-
nesota Distance Runners' Association, National
Women's Studies Association. Staring at the
picture on the driver's license. Denise begins to
wonder about this other woman.
Ruth Aizuss Migdal, Untitled #2, pastel and pencil on Arches 140 Lb. cold pressed water color paper, 30" x 22".
In the back of the wallet, she finds a tattered
black-and-white family photo: father, mother,
and daughter sit on a velvet sofa before a wall
of paintings. With one hand, the little girl stead-
ies a dachshund on her lap, holding up four
fingers of the other hand and grinning to reveal
the new gap between her teeth.
Gently, Lenny takes the wallet from Denise. He
senses her indecision; he knows her need. "If
you'll help us, I'll mail the wallet back today, " he
coaxes, stroking her cheek. In the back room,
the baby wakes and begins to cry. When Den-
ise leaves to feed the baby, Lenny smiles to
himself and replaces the wallet in his jacket.
At 12:30, Renee is dressed and on the telephone.
She has moved from disbelief to action, and has
contacted the police and her credit card hotline.
In two minutes, the massive computer network
of her credit bureau has solved the problem.
The only cost to Renee is the $83-odd dollars in
cash, the lost memorabilia, and the inconven-
ience. With relief, Renee replaces the telephone
in its cradle and, checking her Rolex, sees she
can still get to class on time.
A long '67 Cadillac pulls up in front of Denise's
apartment building, and Lenny helps Denise into
the back seat. He confers with the two other
men in the front seat, and a mall is chosen. As
the car slides into gear, Denise stares blankly
out the window at the dirty snow, and shivers.
On the break, Renee shares coffee with some of
her new students, and tells about her morning.
"I strongly oppose the unequal distribution of
wealth under capitalism," she concludes, "and I
see the loss of this $80 as the system's way of
equalizing distribution." Her students are
amazed — how can Renee be so calm?
In the electronics section of a large department
store, a double row of T. V. screens repeats the
image of a young woman surrounded by ador-
ing men in tuxedos. Opening her fur coat, the
woman places her hands on her hips and
smiles alluringly. The frame freezes on the cap-
tion, "Maidenform." Lenny takes Denise's elbow
firmly and steers her toward a salesman.
"You're beautiful, baby," he murmurs.
Driving to the health club, Renee hums to
herself and reflects on another class well done.
Considering the circumstances, she tells herself, I
am an incredibly good teacher. If I could only
lose those 5 lbs. in my hips, she ponders, I could
cut down my running time on the track. Today,
Renee decides to ride the Lifecycle to reduce the
stress of the morning, and to burn those extra
As the salesman punches in the credit card num-
ber, Denise looks around nervously. Lenny has
gone outside to get his friends and to bring the
car around to the nearest exit. Facing the sales-
man, the print on the computer screen registers
"Code 45 — Photo I.D. Required." The salesman
stares: this is his first theft case. Recalling his
training manual procedures, he presses the
button which alerts the in-store detective and the
police, and turns a smiling face towards Denise.
"it will be just a moment," he says apologetically.
"It's these new computers. "
Clad in her shimmering exercise leotards, Renee
pedals at level 6 on the Lifecycle and reads an
article for her Women's Studies course: "Prob-
lems of Race and Class for White Feminists." She
highlights the important passages with a green
marker. It is 5:20. Renee decides to ride for an
hour, and programs the machine accordingly.
At 5:23, Denise is arrested for forgery. The in-
house detective holds her until the police arrive
and take her, limp and unresisting, towards the
waiting squad car. Outside, she sees Lenny
before he sees her, and hesitating only a mo-
ment, she points him out to the police. After a
brief chase, he is captured. In the commotion,
neither the policemen nor Denise notice the 67
Cadillac which pulls silently out of the parking lot,
blending easily into the evening traffic.
Ageism works both ways, one woman argues.
Approximately 35 women are seated in a large
circle at the feminist bookstore. In the center of
the circle, six candles are arranged in a hexagon,
with two tape recorders on either side. This
evening's talk is led by two women who have
experienced ageist discrimination: one woman is
57, the other is 17. Renee listens thoughtfully to
the discussion, occasionally checking on her tape
recorder. She resolves to be more aware of age-
ism in herself and in others. Ageism is just as
oppressive as racism or classism, she says to the
group, and develops her analogy knowledgeably.
At the police station, Denise is booked on a
felony for fraud and forgery. She places her
single phone call to the bar, where she knows
her mother will have returned with the baby.
When at last the cell doors close behind her,
Denise will lie down on the cot and, pulling her
knees tightly against her chest, stare out into the
Renee returns to her condo at 1 1 :30 that night
and plays back the messages on her answering
machine. Horrified, she listens to the voice of
Officer Peterson requiring her to contact him
immediately. Through the police's switchboard
operator, Renee is connected with Peterson's
"We got 'em, " Peterson assures her, unravelling
the story of the arrest. Renee is stunned. She
listens to the entire story, thanks the officer, and
hangs up the phone.
"Denise Castillo," Renee says aloud, to no one,
"Denise." Slowly, her eyes fill with tears. "28
years old. . .same age as me."
Continued on page 41 .
Clutching the change in my overalls pocket
I enter the sidewalk's maple alley;
seedwings whirl down from the lime haze,
trampled flowers stain the concrete.
Dizzy with liberty, I can almost float away
but shadows nuzzle me.
I begin to notice house after house,
their steps jutting out like folded arms,
My dentist's office broods under green awnings.
Further on, a baby cries:
I fill in my mother's face,
going from window to window, needing me.
Where is life, I wonder,
hurrying past dusty yards
to where the sidewalk ends at the railroad tracks.
I stop to study them
like a scar I didn't know I had.
The hot cinderbed warps the air,
drawing me toward the intersections,
onto the silver rail,
where I watch myself walk deeper
and deeper into the moving train.
I wait in the car for my lover,
soon half a world away.
All there is of sky is an arcade of yellow leaves
lit from beneath by streetlights,
yet I feel the stars I pitied as a child,
their loneliness, how they can't
call to one another, and need something human
to fill their alien spaces.
In the distance, a trolley car wails in its track
and dies, suddenly. Life resonates with grief,
the only song I know.
An old man walks by me under the streetlights,
smoke from his cigarette hanging in the air
behind him. How full I am,
watching him in the rear-view mirror
turn the corner from Evergreen into Day.
"Modern Style", bust, 1949, Picasso
Her legs ached. She stood — dead center — on the
subway platform, positioning herself as far as
possible from the tracks, but even that wasn't
safe enough. Her oversized art portfolio made
her vulnerable: her right arm was immobile. So
was her left, awkwardly embracing a large
cardboard box containing her design project,
geodesic forms. How could she karate chop
anyone weighed down like this? Not that she
knew how. Carin scanned the platform, dug her
heels in until her calves clenched like stubborn
fists — and ached.
Where had it happened? Nothing marked it — no
roped area, no blood stains. She hadn't noticed
that Friday. Then she could only think: here, it
happened here, right here, in this very station.
But Friday she hadn't waited: the local and the
express tore into the station simultaneously, and
Carin had bolted across the platform like every-
one else. No time to consider, really. But now.
No sign bothered her. A mark might render it
real, somehow, not just another tale of meaning-
Starting, Carin turned. Sure enough, right behind
her, a man! Not close. Middle-aged, heavy-set,
tweed overcoat. Chocolate brown from hat to
shoes. Standing. Newspaper rolled under one
arm. Flat-footedly shifting his bulk from leg to
leg. Not even looking — but what did that prove?
Isn't the grandpa on the elevator the one to grab
a handful? Or the guy in Madison Avenue gray
the one to make obscene cracks? Carin waited.
When the brown man didn't move, she walked
to the staircase, turned, and pushed back against
the tile wall.
"A woman, did you hear? Pushed, yes, right in
front of the train. How awful." Voices from the
Student Union still seemed to echo, still stole her
breath. She couldn't absorb it. Finally, she'd
asked, "Was she hurt?" Silence until someone
said, matter-of-factly, "Killed."
What a relief! To perish is simple beside being
maimed. Death is so beautifully conclusive, not
like mutilation or defonnity, hanging on to twist
a whole life out of shape. Carin's relief shamed
her, but she knew its truth: if she were a soldier,
death would frighten her less than the wound.
But how to encompass such a senseless killing?
How often she'd feared it herself, mocking her
irrationality but backing into the safety of the
middle of the platform, overcome by unfounded
but enormous fears that she'd be standing, here,
on the yellow line that marks the platform's
edge, waiting, watching a train arrive (was it
here? down further? on the uptown side?), as
she'd done dozens of times, the train coming,
and someone, yes, a man, suddenly, behind her
(no, he didn't know the woman, he said, he'd
never seen her before), coming up behind, and
just as the train barreled in, pushing. Maybe
right here. Knowing it had really happened
made her fantasies worse. She jammed her back
firmly against the tiles.
Carin didn't move when the train came in. She
knew what the local looked like: rust-cankered
old train rocking down the track like a 1930's
World's Fair ride, too dirty to have discernible
color, metal knobby as a toad's skin from riveted
bolts, white GG letters glaring, unblinking eyes
in a dark tunnel. And jutting from the front car,
like a huge, slightly deformed claw, an ugly
metal contraption. To connect the cars. She
shuddered. Had it struck the woman? Her legs?
The middle of her back? Did she fall face first,
into that putrid black stream between the rails:
standing water, litter, a fetid swamp that out-
lasted every cleaning effort, caravans of work-
men glowing in orange safety jackets, swinging
bright red lanterns which only accentuated the
foul darkness, and the next day, the swamp look-
ing the same. Muck triumphing. No one could
stop the putrid black muck from seeping in be-
tween silver tracks, maybe the last thing she saw,
falling, a flushed red cheek striking that dank
The train slid by the edge of Carin's vision and
shuddered to a stop before she moved — bolting
into the nearest car, pulling her paraphernalia
behind her, quickly, so closing doors wouldn't
bisect her portfolio. Quickly, even though she'd
vowed never to run to catch a train, not since the
time she had and the doors closed too soon — on
her arm. She'd slipped, fallen, her arm sliding
down the doors' rubber lips, looking to passen-
gers like an unexpectedly amputated limb de-
scending solitarily to the floor. Before her, a few
feet, hard white tiles of the station wall towered.
She knew she'd be dragged there and mangled,
like the man in the Daily News, his body half in,
half out, his wife watching helplessly from
behind closed doors, the man's body spread-
eagled and splattered on the tiles as the train
pulled out — but miraculously, her doors had
opened and remained open while she shakily
picked herself up off the cement and stepped
inside, not even maimed. Only bruised. Her
Ruth Aizuss Migdal, Untitled #1, pastel on Arches 300 Lb. cold
pressed water color paper, 40" x 26".
hand, hitting the cement, scraped raw.
When the GG doors slid shut, Carin leaned on
them, noting an over-head fan, now still, and a
long line of light bulbs, each screwed nakedly
into its socket. Jerked forward as the doors
opened and shut, ("Watch the closing doors.")
Listened to the train pulling out, the wheels
grinding. Saw the woman, falling, again in her
mind's eye. Tried not to imagine what falling
would feel like. Tried to pull her legs around so
those wheels, like a can opener's round blade,
wouldn't slice her.. .but she failed.
Beside her, a red-faced bovine man, body burst-
ing from a plaid lumber jacket and too-tight
wine-colored pants, seemed to press his heavy
arm against her thigh, so she picked her way
down the aisle. Excuse me, excuse me, her port-
folio banging people's legs. She found an open
space in a semi-circle of seated passengers — a
school kid, couple of secretaries, an old black
lady. Nobody to bother her. She balanced her
portfolio against her leg, slipped her free hand
over the cool metal strap. A sanctuary, this space.
While it lasts.
At least riding subways wasn't as bad as last
September, when she'd first moved here and
didn't know what to do when strange men
pushed up against her, when her bra strap gave
way in rush-hour, when she was followed — but
she'd dodged him, weaving in and out of five
o'clock traffic. Moving here had been a shock.
New York was the antithesis of her home: no
stasis in this city. Buildings flung up, torn down,
banks bombed, landmarks gone, people moving.
Nothing stood still. Sometimes she longed for no
movement, no activity, for the quiet solidity of
her parents' suburban home. New York was too
confusing, with its office temp jobs, a new office
each week, and that modeling job, tumbling into
her lap, and school. A semester over, the known
faces gone, replaced by new ones. Starting again.
Where was permanence?
Not that it mattered.
She learned to take care, to avoid eyes, to look
busy walking down the street, to bundle herself
in a ski jacket so her figure wouldn't show.
Sometimes she wished to be old, a white-haired
lady, maybe even sixty, so she could walk when
she pleased without being pressed by strange
men. But getting old has its drawbacks. Aging, a
mutilation of sorts, wrinkled skin like crazed
painting. How could one live, withered, shriv-
eled, walking around decomposing, like that old
man who sat down beside her Friday, pink face
cracked with white stubble lines, trio of black-
ened teeth hanging dead center from upper
gums? Scrupulously clean, but smelling faintly —
of purification. No disguise. Like that decaying
subway woman whose odor evacuates whole
carloads of passengers, leaving her to rot alone
with her bags and tatters and swollen carbuncled
No, age is no protection. Don't old ladies get
their purses snatched, going predictably to the
bank to cash their Social Security checks, then
getting robbed as they hobble home? How many
times do you pick up a newspaper to read? How
many times walk on the sidewalk's edge so
rapists, concealed in alleyways, can't slip a piano
wire around your throat?
How can Miss Subway smile so indifferently?
Carmen Rodriguez this month, safe in her card-
board rectangle. As clean as the day she was
snapped into place. Not even violated by a felt-
tipped pen. Beyond the lust of graffiti
writers.. .only a matter of days before Carin saw
herself up there, inside the subway, perhaps, or
on a poster, pasted on a subway wall, or maybe
high on a billboard, towering above street gangs,
touched only by soot. Invulnerable as Miss
She reworked the words: "Carin Miller studies
design in Brooklyn and works as a secretary"
...as a typist, really, and only part-time, but she
needn't mention all that... "in Manhattan where
she lives. Carin has done some modeling" ...she
could say that, having stretched out for the cam-
era for that travel ad, what a fluke! ..."and plans
to be a fashion designer when she graduates,
unless Mr. Right comes along." How dumb! She
wouldn't let them write that, not in this day and
age. "Unless a movie contract..." Should she say
that? Would she really go to Hollywood if...
"Unless a movie contract comes along. Her pleas-
ures are" riding? No. She didn't know how. Pho-
tography? Well, hardly, but she did own an In-
stamatic. Why not? "Photography, painting,
sketching..." Then the train slowed for her stop.
She was ready when the doors opened. She
walked quickly, trampling a newspaper under-
foot, the dusty signature of her sole a blemish on
its recent morning freshness. A mass of people
spurted out the door; she pushed flat against
them so she wouldn't accidentally get shut in.
Always so many people here, mostly students at
this hour, with portfolios, books, design projects.
Ahead of her, Dr. Whittaker who taught Myth &
Art at 9 a.m., droning on about initiation rites.
The eddy of people swept toward the stairs.
Momentarily she drowned in them, only vaguely
aware of the vacuum of the train pulling out.
Slowly, she edged forward. She didn't fight the
crowd's pace, didn't push ahead like that red-
faced fool in the lumber jacket, elbowing his way
doggedly up the stairs. One didn't elbow this
crowd. A rough stop hers, right in the heart of
Bed-Sty, although the school's brochures didn't
mention that, and as often as not, a stream of
blacks pushing up the stairs, young ones smart in
platform shoes, looking Afro with combs stuck in
their hair. Gangs, young boys, hung on street cor-
ners with loud chatter, and she crossed the street,
but what kind of insurance is that? If they want
to try something.
Carin took the stairs a step at a time, breathing
slowly, trying to quell the "hurry, hurry, hurry"
feeling. Crowds made her feel that way, get OUT
of here, pressing her rib-cage like the tip of a
knife, go where you're going, so you'll be safe.
But where is safety? Not anywhere.
Carin knew it as she rounded the top of the
stairs, but she didn't really see it. Still, some
consciousness of it struck her mind, registered,
caused her to lift her eyes and gaze across shift-
ing heads, through the subway barricade, down
the white-tiled corridor, to the poster. So soon!
Plastered on the wall, barely visible through the
narrow black grill work that caged exiting bod-
ies, but there! The poster she'd been waiting to
see one of these days, who knew exactly where,
rounding some corner, turning down a corridor
or... "That's really me! There I am!" Blood rushed
to her face, but she couldn't stop the surge of
excitement. "Me! Carin Miller! On a poster!" She
Of course she'd imagined this, that was the fun
of posing, thinking of herself sprawled along
some wall, larger than life in a black bathing suit
holding up a long luminescent white strand of
pearls. On an ad, with its silly slogan, long legs
stretched naked across the bottom. She hadn't
expected to be caught off guard. Like glimpsing
yourself in motion walking past a store window,
your attention riveted by a likeness you barely
recognized, even when you know it as yourself.
She wanted to stop, to register the moment, to let
its reality sink in, but she couldn't. A heavy
stream of people coming up the stairs pressed
her slowly on, against her will.
Edging forward, she spotted herself again, maybe
two-thirds of herself over the shoulder of a
heavy-set matron swinging shopping bags like a
pair of mops, saw her larger-than-life body
against the bright sky-blue background, fresh,
colorful, brightening the whole corridor. So
bright it looked wet. Maybe she'd been hung
only that morning, unfolding rectangle by rec-
tangle, being swept into place with a flat wallpa-
per brush. She tingled uncomfortably, became
conscious of people looking at her image as they
passed the turnstyle: she began to blush. How
could she have allowed this? On posters, all over
town, as shameless as Miss Rodriguez, smiling
permanently down, or like that strange lady in
the help-the-handicapped poster, the one in a
wheelchair grinning into the camera, not a regu-
lar model, how could she be, her breasts, under
her green print dress, lifted nearly to her collar
bones, like a mistake in the upholstery. And what
next? A series of travel ads, Mr. Lewis, the
cameraman, said. He could use her in his fly to
the Caribbean number, if he got the assignment.
"You really have an island flavor," he kept
saying. She, born and raised in an inland town in
wintry upstate New York. What a funny profes-
sion! How crazy to be posted on the wall!
Carin stood patiently behind Mrs. Shopping Bags
to take her turn through the turnstyle. Two Afro-
topped teen-age boys wedged their way ahead of
her. She waited for the turnstyle to whip around
after them. She could see her legs gleaming, her
shining legs, so smooth and glowing. Oh... up
there she looked so... impregnable, somehow. Im-
mortalized. If only for the instant. Beyond the
ravages of the flesh, almost monumental... well,
not quite Cleopatra, carved for centuries in stone,
but permanent. Her hand holding those pearls so
absolutely still, day after day, no matter how
many people shifted by, glancing, or not glanc-
ing, at her arm, her legs, her body, stretched out
in its lanky almost Oriental beauty. Where do
you get it, family friends asked, considering her
short plump mother, her pale-faced father. She
didn't know. Maybe she was a throwback or
maybe (she liked this) her mother lived a double
life, her little mother, faithful, Carin was sure, to
Still, the poster almost magically changed things.
She felt that. Already she stood taller, straighter,
under her bulky ski jacket. Knowing she was
there made a difference, as though someone,
something, would oversee these inchoate jour-
neys through the city's churning labyrinths.
Enough to see her through the next day, or week,
or few months, until summer rescued her, carried
her back to the safety of her home.
When Carin's turn came, she whipped through
the turnstyle without breaking stride, — riding the
current of this unfamiliar ebullience as naturally
as a buoy dances the Gulf Stream. She maneu-
vered to the edge of the stream of people. One
day she'd come up from the subway like this and
see another poster — for a new movie or for Del
Monte string beans. Inevitable. But how would
that feel? She couldn't imagine. Like trying to
believe herself a movie star watching her name
come down off the marquee or being Queen
Elizabeth stepping down for Prince Charles.
Until then, she was quite simply inviolable. In a
deep secret place. She knew it. She drew a deep
breath, walked briskly down the corridor: noth-
ing can harm me, nothing, she intoned. And
could almost believe it.
About ten feet from the poster, she stopped, as if
it were a Monet, best viewed from a distance. She
let herself absorb it all: bare feet, smooth legs,
pearls, hands, impeccably groomed fingernails
painstakingly filed to perfect ovals — not sexy,
just sensuous, Mr. Lewis said — and... something
was wrong. She knew it instantly, but couldn't
let herself see it. Something blocked her vision,
not letting her take it in as she hadn't been able
to absorb the story of the woman being pushed.
Maybe the ad agency had decided not to use her,
had pasted up another poster of a girl with a
string of pearls and a black bathing suit. But that
wasn't it. This was the same poster she'd mod-
eled for, all right, only... maybe the printer had
doctored it up, some trick of finishing to make it
look — different, yes, different than she'd ex-
But that wasn't it. She'd known all along. Be-
cause nearly everything was exactly right — the
poster blue background, herself stretched out, her
olive legs crossed easily at the ankle, a hand
propping up her smiling head, her long hair
hanging as black as the bathing suit, her other
hand holding the pearls which dangled in a long
oval, each pearl perfectly white, in front of her
suit. Nothing had changed... except... except
someone, oh, how to believe it?, except someone
had, yes... gouged... both her eyes out.
The sight left her empty, as though breath had
been knocked from her lungs. It was... so inde-
cent. So incongruous, such a corruption of perfec-
tion. But why? What had she done? Or is this
what it means to be... provocative, to invite...
this? But surely beauty is no reason to...
She moved forward, to examine her mutilated
face, as in a dream.
The ovals, where her eyes had been, were white
and fuzzy, the paper worn by scraping until limp
and gray as a used spitball. Nothing else was
touched. Nothing. No, someone, deliberately,
stood and scraped the paper off, carefully, with a
screwdriver or a penknife or a fingernail file...
had scraped and scraped, painstakingly remov-
ing pupils and white but not a bit of eyelid,
exposing, as it were, the very bone of her eyes'
sockets, scraping until only... she extended her
hand and touched the vacant cavities, gingerly,
as one might touch a still-open wound.
Then she fled, her shoes striking a hollow sound
against pavement, portfolio banging wildly
against her leg, running even after she'd gained
the stairway and daylight and could leave it all
behind her like a bad dream: poster, brilliant
against the white tiled wall, blue sky, black
bathing suit, olive skin, shimmering like the sun.
And the eyes, of course. The eyes. Those white
oval blanks staring out at random passersby as
blindly as the pearls that hung, unviolated, from
her carefully groomed hand.
Marilyn Coffey lives and writes in Brooklyn, New York.
HENRIETTA GRAND ALL : PAINTER
Life's pretty important stuff.
Part "everyday" and basic —
like reading a book, hanging the wash or petting the cat.
Part extraordinary —
like living under the sea or flying to the sun on the back of a bird.
You really have to have both;
they are of a piece.
Henrietta Crandall, September 1989
Henrietta Crandall joined our graphics staff three
years ago as she began painting and drawing
classes at Governors State University. Always an
artist in some facet, she turned to painting at the
same time that her husband pursued a major
career change. Uprooted from West Virginia and
a lifestyle that she loved, she was thrust down on
a prairie farm in the midwest with major adjust-
ments to be made. Her work has reflected the
many changes and alterations that have taken
place in her life.
It has been marvelous to watch her growth and
development as a painter; to see it all come to
fruition in a one woman show this fall in Boston.
I love the humor, the freedom, the pure fun of
her work; her paintings make me laugh out loud
and feel good about the world (not an easy task
these days). Her volume is prolific. The work just
seems to flow out of her and the sampling you
see here is a very small part of what she has
produced. It's unfortunate that we are a black
and white publication because her colors are
wonderful, deep and rich.
Although her paintings may reflect at times her
own internal struggles, to me they embody the
great wealth of womanhood, the potential that
we as women have on this earth and beyond.
Henrietta's paintings are for all women, for all
Sister Magnavox sits on the edge of the altar,
She looks up at the flame, squints, and thinks of
The others come in, humming a top-ten vesper hymn.
Sister jumps down and blends into the black and
Sister Magnavox joined because they promised
to get colorized.
The black soon to become a drab green habit.
The white, coral across the brow.
Is it legal? Is it ethical?
Sister's heart sings in drab green and coral.
Sister repents for her sins.
They are red and black, sure. But they are also
gold lame and glistening silver.
They are even grass. They are even flesh.
Oh, sister, sister. Repent. Do what you must!
But come back to the rainbow.
C fig •VWU'AL./
ADDRESSES THE RALLY
Illinois NOW Rally
Springfield, September 23, 1989.
Good morning! We are gathered here today to
publicly demonstrate our support of reproduc-
tive freedom, a constitutional freedom that is
slowly being chipped away. We are here to
sound the alarm and to stand up for the rights of
privacy for women and the most basic right of
privacy, the right to control our own bodies and
the decision of when and if to give birth.
We live in a society that likes to idealistically
believe that all conceptions take place in love,
warmth, and intimacy, and that all children will
be wanted and generously cared for. But the
reality is that many times conception takes place
in anger, hate, brutality and force.
Women are not and will not be baby-making
machines for a patriarchal society. We won't wait
for politicians and governors to pat us on the
head and decide what's best for us. We need to
claim that right for ourselves and stand up for
our convictions. We are being called to take
action by your support of pro-choice candidates
and by your volunteer efforts, your generous
financial support, and most importantly, your
vote on election day. Pro-choice candidates need
us and we certainly need them in the House and
the Senate and the Governor's office.
Try to imagine what it will be like if Roe v. Wade
is overturned. Will those same self-righteous
sounding pro-lifers be willing to help women
raise the children? Adoption is the option, they
proclaim! That's great if you are a white, male,
newborn infant. But will they provide adoption
incentives for families to adopt AIDS babies,
coke babies, ethnic babies, handicapped babies,
or older children?
Will they provide safe and responsible daycare
services for women so they can continue to
provide for their families? Or do they want to
condemn women to the public welfare rolls? Will
they support job training for women and classes
for pregnant teens so they can finish their educa-
tion? Will they support sex education classes so
teens can learn to be sexually responsible citi-
zens? Are they willing to support mandating
fathers to be responsible for their child support?
Of course the answers are "NO"!
Theirs is a punitive attitude against women.
They imply that women can't determine their
own fate, make their own choices, or know the
direction of their own lives. They want to give
that right to the politicians.
Until they are willing to provide those kinds of
services for women, we must never let Roe v.
Wade or any other anti-choice legislation slip by
us. Many pro-lifers have their own right-wing
political agenda and this is only a piece of that
agenda. If they take away this basic right, which
constitutional freedom is next?
They try very hard to portray pro-choice sup-
porters as some radical fringe element. We are
the real silent majority! We must not remain
silent too long. We must speak out now! We can
quickly lose those few fundamental rights we
have fought for, for so long.
There have always been and there will always be
abortions. Roe v. Wade in 1973 took abortions
away from the back alley butchers and helped
provide safe, legal services for women.
Joe McHugh, Information Director of Planned
Parenthood of Springfield area, once said it so
well: "Until the perfect birth control method is
invented, and until there is no rape, no incest, no
life threatening consequences for some pregnan-
cies, no fatal genetic syndromes, and until hu-
man beings have perfect memories, perfect
foresight, and perfect relationships, there will
always be a need for safe and legal abortions."
We will never go back... We will never give up!
Rebecca Drake, M.A., does individual, couple, and family
counseling, and is a Certified Divorce Mediator. She prac-
tices in Lincoln, Illinois.
MICHIKO ITATANI: CONTEMPORARY PAINTER
ABOUT THE ARTIST BY RUTH AIZUSS MIGDAL
Michiko Itatani was born in Japan, where she took her first degree in literature and philosophy, the perfect grounding for
an artist of any discipline.
After graduation, she came to Chicago to study art. She wanted to learn a new language, another art form, the visual arts.
In Chicago, she earned an MFA in painting at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago where she is an Associate Profes-
sor in painting and drawing.
Her work has been exhibited nationally and internationally. Included among her honors are museum shows, an NEA
Artist fellowship, and invitations to visiting artist positions around the country. In Japan, she is considered an American
Her work combines and juxtaposes tight linear control with writhing organic, gigantic calligraphic figures floating and
bursting through space. These enormous paintings are deeply emotional. They are constructed like musical scores as they
become a diagram of our cosmology concerned with space, time and action. These ferocious figures became an element in
the paintings after the artist saw a video of herself working. She realized that her body working was an integral part of the
In my opinion, Michiko's complex combination of Eastern and Western thought have joined to become a unique and
personal art form. I find her work powerful and transforming.
For me, to be an artist is an intellectual choice and a care-
fully chosen commitment. There is no intoxication. My
painting is a painted diagram of my cosmology. It is
incomplete, fragmented and under inquiry.
We are on this seemingly insignificant planet in this insig-
nificant location in the galaxy. Being confined to this small
dot, the human mind travels around the universe. Even
before we could circle the earth, we started to search the
inner and outer space of the universe. I inherited that
tradition of investigation, and my paintings are proofs of my
personal inquiry. The inquiry is my way of life.
My image making is an issue of representation: you choose
one and then other possibilities are eliminated. Gain one and
lose another, lose one and gain another. An accumulation of
small choices makes life, people, and painting. Bodies in my
painting are symbolic containers of human minds. Their
equal relationship to the other elements of my painting —
linear elements which are proof of my time/ritual, other
brush strokes which are traces of my bodily movements, the
size and the shape of canvas — make the whole of one
painting. Yet a painting is still a fragment of the whole:
thinking/ decision making/doing/living.
I am interested in how the human mind works, especially in
the extreme conditions of being a victim/an offender, an
introvert/an extrovert, and a controller/a submitter. I
investigate the uncertain line between permitted/ forbidden,
normal/pathological and decent/indecent in various value
I am intrigued by mind's ability to be obsessed by unattain-
able desire and disproportionate ambition. My recent work
deals with the human desire to work collectively toward
harmonious existence, an existence which often appears as
an unattainable desire. However, within this theme, I am
portraying the personal/social/political human struggle
toward harmony with passion and optimism.
I wish to share my thoughts on the contradiction of desire
and choice through my work. I believe communication
through art is a valuable option because of its complex,
ambiguous nature, a nature which allows itself to go beyond
often harsh personal/social/political borders.
; llation Studies, 1988, 110" x 312", oil and acryllic on canvas.
THE CYCLE OF RETURN
TO A HORSE ON A BLEAK
Three times around, then four
we've shared, woman, the view
from the same window.
In the first warmth of spring,
we lay there with Rebecca,
white in the sunshine
as we averted our eyes
from her massive bosom.
How she purred in that body.
How she stretched and took wing
as she laid down her lace
among the prairie smoke.
Consecrated her body
in the turbulence of Graves Creek.
Later, in the ripe heat of August
you stood there, brown skinned,
hair burnished by long days on horseback.
Singing, while your father passed over
into that other world.
That night, we gathered
to rearrange the stars.
But found them fallen
like dew, around us.
Three times around, then four
we sat, and stared out
into November's bare arms.
Clouds grey, thick upon the mountains
as we loitered in some summer heat.
Fires banked, against the cold.
Brenda Tao Lee Nesbitt
Carry me away, winged and feathered horse
Away from bleak knights and New Dawn and
New Fresh Downey.
I need to escape.
But, horse o' mine
I want my own wings.
I want my own dangling participle, looking
euphemistic glasses and drinking rose
which really is rose colored.
You were not meant to be a work horse.
You were meant to race.
But a bleak knight cannot race fast enough.
You must rediscover the wheel. Discover that it
not round, but pear shaped. It was meant
This summer as you finish
your tadpole phase, pure
mornings turn brackish;
the wild roses fade by noon;
your mutter like the leaves —
your body's a traitor, foreign,
a deepening where only
shallows once lapped
In the odd moments, you gather
yourself like the clouds, allowing
the clear eye of the sun
to silken your mood. You
listen for the trout's splash,
the heavy insect drone carried
like secrets over the waves.
Sure, you gently
tread rocks smoothed
by a century of summers
into the cool lake
where you dive
quick as summer's end
and with strong stroke
seek the silver center
where past and future merge.
Barbara M. Simon
BO O K REVIEW:
by Michelle Clinton
West End Press, San Rafael, CA, 1987
Reviewed by Terri Jewell
I attended an "Author's Banquet" and fundraiser
in Louisville, KY, this past November. The guest
speaker, an attractive blonde with a Southern
drawl, read a few selections from her journal just
released by a major publisher. She described the
antics of her grandchildren and the sibling
rivalry among them. She also commented on her
dismay over the bitterness and despair found in
the writing of other authors, feeling it was better
to find what was good and dispel the misery to
foster hope. Michelle Clinton, Black poet and
performance artist, winner of the 1985 Alice
Jackson Poetry Award and a Brody Arts Founda-
tion Fellowship, believes that hope is fostered
through acknowledgement of the existence of
problems, not denial.
Her first book of poetry, High Blood/Pressure,
requires the reader to take notice and to think
about solutions, not about summer squash blos-
soms or fading barnwood. Her poetry packs the
power of a hand grenade, but does not kill. It
offers the sensitivity of fresh scarifications, but
does not wound. It throbs with the rhythms of
dance, but does not tire.
Clinton writes about Watts, an area of Los Ange-
les practically leveled by racial unrest in the
1960s, but does so for the 1980s. She gracefully
avoids the charbroiled, didactic quality expected
of an urban Black's realistic work. Nevertheless,
she provides no bush to cower behind and no ex-
cuses and she writes in a richly cultural and
quite accessible language.
There is a hard truth evident in Clinton's per-
sonal strength and vision. Her 26 prose poems
reveal the psychic disruption of eviction, the
accepted prevalence of spouse abuse in "Did She
Bleed?" and the emotional residuals of rape in a
potent piece, "On Sex in July." One hilarious
poem, "Ghetto Disease," satirizes the effective-
ness of "stress management" techniques within
the context of urban deprivation:
So when I asked my calm faced doctor what I
got to do to get well, so I kin work, buy
groceries & move, he said 'Stress. Eliminate
stress from your life & you'll be fine.'
Clinton's sense of humor runs throughout the
vocally hip poem, "Trying to Draw a Square
Poet" where she subtly repudiates the allure of
contemporary trends. And, of course, the poet
does not overlook love in her work, creating an
instance of self-love in the simple act of making
one's own toasted bread "...'cause you the only
one can get toast right." She also tells of close
friendships with women, shadows of love with
men, and the promise of romance articulated in
High Blood/Pressure exposes and examines the
psychological dichotomy of having a mixed
heritage, provides the reader with a survival
manifesto for the streets, and describes the sheer
madness that can erupt once total powerlessness
over one's life is accepted, even for an instant.
One antidote is prescribed in Clinton's "Spiritual
Women's Resistance" in which passivity is
On the quarter moon we meditate
on Venus's rise
to channel a knowing
back into our hands,
we must steady
tomorrow, we gather to gather
with a dead
plan to fight.
At the last, lines of High Blood /Pressure lay down
hope for final human resurrection in "Bombs
Away/Poem for the Church in Ocean Park."
So, despite the fact that all is not well in Michelle
Clinton's universe, she has successfully used all
the sound, texture, color and movement around
her to show the reader the intense emotion and
optimism embedded deep within a people.
There are several lifetimes packed between the
covers of this small volume, and it would be to
the thinking reader's advantage to contemplate
the unalarmed messages of Michelle Clinton.
Terri Jewell is a widely published poet, writer and critic. She
lives in Lansing, Michigan.
New York: Seaver Books, 1987.
Reviewed by Mary E. Howes
Pooh lived in a world of his own and he be-
lieved in magic, the same as me. He wasn't
particularly good at anything, but everyone
loved him anyway. I was fascinated by the way
he could make an adventure out of anything,
even tracks in the snow.
Sally Morgan's feeling about Winnie the Pooh
epitomizes my feeling about her. She lives and
breathes in a world where every action is an
adventure and a story. My Place is a fascinating
account of "an aborigine's stubborn quest for her
truth, heritage, and origins." It is also much
more than this. It is a search for the meaning of
origins and history for all of us, men or women,
black or white.
Why should this book mean so much to me? My
own origins have always been clear. I was born
and raised in England and grew up with a strong
sense of who I am and who came before me.
True, since my teenage years I have roamed
widely, living in Scotland, Germany, Canada and
Australia before finally coming to the mid-west.
True also, that my oldest daughter lived in
nineteen places before her twelfth birthday,
including four countries. But despite all this
moving, I never felt rootless. I never felt the lack
of continuity that Americans, black and white, so
often feel. Yet Sally Morgan's book moved me to
tears and to laughter. And it probed my feelings
about life itself.
Why? I believe roots are very important. A
sense of where we come from strengthens us. It
empowers us to become who and what we
choose. And those who do not have it are
robbed of that empowerment. I think of my
daughter's friend Angela, a wonderful, talented
girl. "It's different for you," she says. "You're
white. There are things you can do that I can't."
For years I didn't believe her. I told her she
could do anything she chose. Sally Morgan's
book has given me a glimpse of why Angela felt
as she did. It has vastly enriched my under-
Sally Morgan grew up in suburban Perth, during
the nineteen fifties and sixties. At fifteen she
discovered that she and her family were aborigi-
nal and set out on a quest to discover what this
meant. In 1979 she decided to write a book
about her family history. Her mother's response
"You can't write a book about our family,"
she spluttered, "you don't know anything!"
"Aah, but I'm going to find out, aren't I?"
And she does. She traces her family back to
Corunna Downs in Northern Australia through
family, friends, relatives and people she meets
during her search.
The story unfolds on many levels. There is the
biography of Sally Morgan, a black woman
searching for herself: the story of a small girl
growing up believing she was Indian, but mak-
ing decisions about who she was and who she
would be. Then there is the story of Sally's quest
for her real self, the self that has been shaped by
her origins. She gradually uncovers the hidden
story of her family and of the different family
members: her grandmother, her mother, and her
uncle. Their stories are related by each of them,
capturing the sense as well as the facts of their
lives. These glimpses of social history are pain-
Sally also tells the story of aborigines in a deter-
minedly white society. Until she was at univer-
sity, she had thought Australia the least racist
country in the world. Now she was learning that
was not so. In a conversation with her mother,
she describes the time when her grandmother
Aborigines were considered sub-normal and
not capable of being educated the way whites
were. You know, the pastoral industry was
built on the back of slave labour. Aboriginal
people were forced to work, if they didn't the
station owners called the police in. I always
thought Australia was different to America,
Mum, but we had slavery here, too. The
people might not have been sold on the
blocks like the American Negroes were, but
they were owned, just the same.
Sally's story is by no means all serious. Her
concise, visual style races from one set of images
to another, from the opening scene where she is
a "grubby five-year-old in an alien environment"
(the hospital) to her grandmother's death. On
each page another story is told.
Each of the characters develops through a series
of miniatures. For example, there is Nan, her
grandmother, who doesn't admit until Sally is a
junior in high school, that she is black. Sally
finds her sitting at the kitchen table, crying.
I froze in the doorway, I'd never seen her cry
"Nan ... what's wrong?"
"Then what are you crying for?"
She lifted up her arm and thumped her
clenched fist hard on the kitchen table. "You
bloody kids don't want me, you want a
bloody white grandmother. I'm black.
Do you hear, black, black, black."
Then there's Nan's private theory for eradicating
germs: distribute chopped onions throughout
the house. There's her conversation with the
trees in their back yard. And her certainty that
kerosene rubs cure aches and pains.
Sally emerges as a strong, creative person who
understands the importance of her origins and
the continuity that links her to them. Her words
caused me to think about who I am, as well as
about the fate of a woman who grew up in a
social environment very different from my own.
I too have a strong sense of my origins and their
continuity, a sense I never questioned until I was
living in the United States in the nineteen seven-
ties. British born and raised, I had accepted the
standard argument that British imperialism was
virtuous and that colonialism had helped the
various native populations. In the aftermath of
Vietnam I had begun to question my ineffable
sense of right. I also discovered that knowing
one's ancestors had been frequently in the
wrong, did not mean rejecting them. The conti-
nuity was there. The key was to decide what
was right now, and then to act on it.
Sally Morgan helped to confirm this sense of
origins. History is important. It is our back-
ground and it has helped to shape us. But it
does not dictate the future. Sally's thoughts after
her trip to Corunna Downs integrate her knowl-
edge of the past into her present. "What had
begun as a tentative search for knowledge had
grown into a spiritual and emotional pilgrimage.
We had an Aboriginal consciousness now, and
were proud of it."
In her review of My Place, Alice Walker says that:
This sad, and wise, and funny book is of
inestimable value in comprehending the solid
relatedness of the global community, the
oneness of spirit of all "Aboriginal" peoples
whether in Australia or elsewhere, and the
inhuman war of genocide that white su-
premacists on every continent have waged-
I concur in this, and see incidents in my own life
which strike me with horror. There was the time
I crossed from Canada into the U.S., driving a
shabby van, with my two daughters and their
very American friends: the younger from a
WASP background, the older a black, born and
bred in Kansas. The immigration officer exam-
ined my green card. My younger daughter, who
had been shipped to me from school suffering
from mononucleosis, had left her green card in
her dorm room. After a few minutes conversa-
tion, the immigration officer accepted my story,
and asked the kids (all of whom were sleeping)
to sit up so he could see who was there. At this
moment the indignity began. The officer took
one look at Angela and insisted we enter the
immigration building. There Angela, born in
Kansas, was interrogated about her birth, her
parents, her occupation and other totally irrele-
vant items. Inside I seethed. But the insecurity
caused by my daughter's missing green card
held my protest inside.
Read My Place for enjoyment. Read it to learn
more about life as an aboriginal. Read it to
discover how one woman empowered herself by
discovering the truth about her origins. Above
all, read it to learn something about yourself.
Dr. Mary Howes is professor of management at Governors
State University and works with organizations undergoing
change. She has two daughters, one born in Australia and
one born in British Columbia. She has lived and worked in
England, Germany and France.
Henry Holt and Company, New York, 1987
Reviewed by Sonya Monroe
Published originally in Afrikaans in South Africa,
Poppie Nongena became a best seller; based on the
actual life story of a Black woman living in the
Cape area of South Africa today, only her name
is invented. In this novel Elsa Joubert clearly
outlines what is a familiar story of people up-
rooted, many of whom had been rich in land and
other material possessions. We are reminded of
the Native Americans and the reservations. We
are reminded of Middle Eastern refugees and
European Jews, of all people who have been
forcibly removed form their homes. Through
Poppie's eyes, Joubert shows a people changed,
impoverished, who can take with them only a
few memories of their previous lives, a cherished
table or dresser, a feather quilt. "People changed
for the worst," Poppie says.
Elsa Joubert chronicles the uprisings, the rebel-
lions in South Africa, showing them to us as
Poppie sees them, in shock. Adults lost control of
the children who, angry and grieving their own
losses, rebelled against their parents. Many quit
school and became "skollies," the vagabonds and
robbers who preyed on drunk or old people.
Alcohol, as usual, is used to escape, to forget
one's misery. Mosie, Poppie's brother, tells his
uncle, "Buti, how can you know anything that
goes on? You're in dreamland the whole year."
Poppie, who thought her children were protected
because they were on the land, far away from the
city when the 1976 rebellion of the children
began, finds that the turmoil reaches out to grab
them. She says, "Peace will not come... even
those that wish for peace will be dragged into
troubles. We will have to grow used to that.
About that we can do nothing."
Poppie Nongena is a tribute to a woman, indomi-
table and resilient beyond belief. This extraordi-
nary woman, who multiplied thousands of times
over, becomes ordinary in apartheid South
Africa, commands awe and respect. Joubert
invokes the reader's participation in Poppie's life
which is almost a litany of grief, for it is grieving,
day in and day out which lines Poppie's days
and nights. Grief with its fury, false hope, drag-
ging depression, eroding anxiety, and finally
acceptance dogs Poppie's existence.
This is the way I felt as I read Poppie Non-
gena's life story. One experiences a sense of her
utter exhaustion from daily battles which she
carries on even in the face of the enforced separa-
tions and losses, deprivations of basic amenities,
and having to start all over again, even to build-
ing her own home. Each time, the legislated im-
poverishment deepens. Yes, she did fall apart,
Joubert shows us. Poppie is not superhuman. She
fell out on her cot, was wiped out physically and
sometimes emotionally, but she got up over and
over again. Her unselfishness is astonishing. She
accepted and even sought increased responsibili-
ties for her own children, for her brothers, her
uncle and her grandchild.
There are many aspects of Poppie's life that are
different from mine, perhaps even most. Yet,
there are familiar threads woven throughout her
life journey that reappear, echoing in the fabric of
my own, from the ancestors to the present day. I
thought about the unofficial enslavement, the
backbreaking underpaid work on the southern
plantations after emancipation which was the lot
of many men, women, and children up through
the 1950's, even the 60's. Joubert vividly de-
scribes how during her childhood, Poppie
worked with her family at the fish factory in
Lambert's Bay where they had moved. The boats
came in loaded with fish, sometimes at three
o'clock in the morning, sometimes as early as one
o'clock. They were awakened by the factory
whistle, and might work from that time until
eleven the next night, and again from morning to
night to morning again. Once this went on for
four days, and the people began to stay home,
but were rounded up by the foreman from their
barracks and taken back to the factories, "...no,
we didn't stop at all," she says. I thought about
the children in this country where I live, and
there in that country where Poppie lives, who are
taken out of school either by parents who could
not leave little ones alone and work too, or by the
children themselves who, seeing their parents
losing the struggle to stay afloat, quit school to
bring additional money into the household. I
thought about the thousands of decent poor
families struggling to maintain some order and
structure in their lives, to keep the traditions, to
obtain an education, however meager and spotty,
to eat, to rest, to spend time with the children, to
share the meager goods, to give encouragement
Joubert skillfully conveys Poppie's psychological
state. Her life is one of constant uncertainty and
anxiety about possible forced moves. She worries
about the children from whom she is periodically
separated by the law or by her own doing in
order to work and survive. She is fierce in her
determination to protect the vulnerable children.
They must be sent to this aunt or that brother, or
remain with her husband from whom she is
finally separated after seven years of often
weekly visits to the pass office to seek an exten-
sion. As Alan Paton tells us in his excellent
foreword to the book, "the harsh fact is that the
Black man's labor is wanted in the industries of
the cities, but his wife and children are not. They
are to be left behind in the Homelands [previ-
ously the Reserves], and will receive money from
the cities if their husband and father is faithful."
Certain parts of this law stated that the man
could not bring his family back to the city until
he had worked ten years for the same employer.
Later, this was changed to fifteen years. Like so
many others, Poppie and her husband resisted
this ruling, and found one excuse after another to
obtain extensions. But she never knew for longer
than two or three months ahead whether or not
she would be able to stay in Capetown, all the
family together. There were pass raids in the
locations where the Black people were crowded
together in shanties surrounded by junk. The
children would run through the streets and warn
the adults, who would then hide in the bushes,
the wardrobes, or lavatories. Poppie said, "this
always running to hide was no life for me."
Joubert effectively portrays the capricious cruelty
in language, gesture and act of white men and
women. The distant faceless authority of the gov-
ernment was reflected in the eyes and faces of
clerks, secretaries and local officials with whom
the Black people became uncomfortably and inti-
mately familiar. There are the unpredictable,
inconsistent kindnesses, perhaps inspired by
some fleeting recognition of shared humanity,
but Poppie could not count on them. Some did
help her in her attempts to obtain extensions on
her time in the city. I was proud as a social work
educator to know that one of the most helpful to
Poppie was a social worker. Another, the pass
clerk, gave her bus fare when she was pregnant.
Some even said that it was the law and they did
not like to enforce it. Nevertheless, Poppie's
family found that enforcement was not uniform.
Joubert repeats her brother Jakkie's comments,
"if it suits the white people, the law does not
count.. .that's no law is it?" This was after the
wife of a government official who wanted Poppie
to work for her arranged for her pass to be per-
manently stamped, "No objection." This occurred
after the years of loneliness and struggle and her
husband's death. She had needed this dispensa-
tion so much before, why was it available now?
Joubert writes movingly, using Poppie's voice,
sometimes that of a family member, and at times
that of the observer telling Poppie's story.
Through these techniques, conversational and
narrative, we are drawn deeply into Poppie's
existence. We walk and struggle through it with
her. We laugh a little. We feel the release she
experiences, the uplift brought to her miracu-
lously through prayer. Poppie has an abiding
faith. Here, in the church where she can actually
cry out to the Lord with her friends and neigh-
bors for assistance, for mercy and for strong
protections, she finds renewed sources of energy.
She receives a special grace through this sharing.
Joubert communicates Poppie's profound sense
of loss when her husband died, even though they
had been separated for many years with infre-
quent visits. He had contracted tuberculosis
years before, working for the dairy under terrible
conditions. He had been faithful and responsible,
working when sick, and sending money unfail-
ingly over the years. Then, having developed
heart trouble and ulcers, he finally died of over-
work and a broken heart. Poppie says, "It was
not the [witch doctor's potion] that killed him, it
was the hard life in the Cape.. .and the hardest
for him was the burden she had to bear." So
now, alone without the contribution her husband
had made, Poppie girds herself to carry on.
Joubert shows how one is driven to violate the
apartheid laws. Poppie does so, and stays in the
Cape with her mother, brothers, and other family
members whom she knows and loves, the only
place where she had known some joy.
Always, constantly she is engrossed with the
tasks of providing for protection and supervision
of the children. She says, "I won't leave my girls
unprotected in NU7 [the location]." Other adoles-
cent girls had become pregnant, but Poppie's
daughters had not.
Joubert communicates effectively the commit-
ment of Poppie and her entire family to educa-
tion. We see how her children and brothers try to
stay in school. They work awhile and go back to
secondary school even at age twenty and older to
finish. We learn how this woman gave her
children survival skills. To the distraught daugh-
ter she had to take out of school and send to the
rural area to reside with paternal grandparents,
she says, "you must not forget.. .keep thinking of
next year, next year at school."
A tired resignation and cynicism grows inside
Poppie and her people. Poppie says, 'That is the
way we know life.. .we don't mind about injus-
tice, about whether a thing is right or not.. .our
lives are upside down anyway." Joubert brings
this remarkable book to a close with Poppie
thinking, "And if my children had to be drawn
into this thing, then that is what they were born
to. And who can take from their path that to
which they were born?"
This is a book about a holocaust, a present day
holocaust. It echoes those that have gone before,
in the United States, in Germany, in places all
over the world wherever people are besieged by
a cruel authority, sometimes faceless, sometimes
distant, but always inescapable. Poppie Nongena
is a woman with whom we can all identify in
some way. She is a person who, in spite of being
deprived of the loving caress, a comfortable
home, security, or even simple luxuries, never,
ever gave up. You cannot read it and remain the
Sonya V. Monroe, ACSW, Ed.D., is University Professor of
Social Work at Governors State University. Among her pas-
sionate interests are history, the African diaspora, sociopo-
litical issues, and the fine and creative arts.
We appeal as human beings to human beings:
Remember your humanity, and forget the rest.
Last public statement
Book Revi ew:
DAUGHTERS OF COPPER WOMAN
Press Gang, Vancouver, B.C.
Reviewed by Michele McMaster
For years, Anne Cameron has been listening to
the stories from the native people of Vancouver
Island, Canada. Special among these were some
tales shared by the members of a secret society of
women. These women, part of a matriarchal,
matrilineal culture, gave her permission to record
these stories and the result was Daughters of
Copper Woman. Cameron has skillfully captured
the flavor of their oral history by retelling the
stories in a style similar to the way she heard
For several of the stories Cameron created a char-
acter, Granny, a wise woman from this secret
society, who relates some of the more recent
tribal "herstory." Granny's reasons for finally
allowing these stories to be recorded explain the
ultimate purpose of the book: "Women are
bringing the pieces of the truth together. Women
are believing again that we have a right to be
whole. Scattered pieces from the black sisters,
from the yellow sisters, from the white sisters are
coming together.... Without the truth we have
protected, women won't have the weapons of
defence [sic] they need. If we hold our secret to
ourselves any longer, we help the evil ones
destroy the Womanspirit" (p. 145).
Granny recalls how men and women warriors
fought successfully to defend themselves against
Spanish invaders. Ultimately, diseases that these
invaders brought decimated the tribes. Large
chunks of tribal history and traditions were
therefore lost. She explains: "Some people were
interested and memorized family ties by birth
and marriage, some memorized trade and fishing
right agreements, some memorized songs and
chants for navigating by sea current, some
memorized the words of songs or poems, or the
steps of dances. Of course it's a risky way to do
it. Each smallpox or tuberculosis epidemic
carried off chapters of what had been a real
living history" (p. 68).
Granny, who says she had been the Queen
Mother of the tribe but now no tribe exists for
her to rule, recalls how memorized chants helped
their tribe travel as far as Japan and Hawaii on
the ocean currents. Another story tells about a
ring of stones that forecasts the rising of the sun
and moon. She describes how tribal clowns kept
people from getting too pushy or taking them-
selves too seriously.
Besides Granny's tales, Cameron includes many
other legends and myths, including the story of
Sisiutl, the fearsome sea monster, who symbol-
izes the courage necessary to face fear. When
women become too complacent and allow men
too much control, the story of Tern Eyos Ki
reminds men and women of their responsibilities.
The "Song of Bear" describes an Indian woman
who lived with a bear.
Cameron tells about Copper Woman, also known
as the Old Woman, the Goddess who is mother
to us all, who arrived on these shores 187 1/2
lifetimes (a lifetime is 80 years) ago because the
Old Ways were being challenged in her home-
land by the invasion of barbarians. Her eldest
daughter, Mowita, married a goddess who incar-
nated as a man and they had children. Mowita's
four sons married Copper Woman's four daugh-
ters and these couples set out for the four corners
of the earth to become the four races.
As much as this is a book of these tribal stories, it
is also a book about remembering. Using these
stories, Cameron has laid the groundwork to
remember by triggering emotions. Memories
ride on emotions. She evokes sadness for the
culture lost in the name of progress, anger about
the lost wisdom, joy knowing there is the poten-
tial for something bigger and wiser than what
presently exists, and hope that someday every-
one will remember and harmony and peace will
Cameron suggests that the reader try to remem-
ber traditions from her foremothers. She should
reach back into the farthest recesses of her mind
and see if she can remember about a society of
women, reach back until she can discover any
family heritage where women knew about the
"soft power." Was there ever a time when
women did not believe their bodies were shame-
ful? when men listened to women as equals? If
each woman lets herSelf look, Cameron believes
she can find and recreate her own "herstory."
This book may be difficult for American readers
to find in bookstores because Press Gang Publish-
ers is a Canadian feminist publishing and print-
ing collective. The book and catalogs of their
other publications are available from them at 603
Powell St., Vancouver, B.S. V6A 1H2, Canada.
TOXIC WASTE DOESNt
Lois Gibbs, Executive Director
Citizen's Clearinghouse for Hazardous Wastes
"If you don't like the way
the world is, you change it . . .
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can
change the world. Indeed it's the only thing that ever has.
c P c E^r ( E Sp mitts
Fourth in a series
A remarkable little book is going the rounds:
Planethood: The Key to Your Survival and Prosperity
by Benjamin B. Ferencz and Ken Keyes, Jr. Dr.
Ferencz was Prosecutor, Nuremburg War Crimes
Trials, which led him to a lifelong interest in
international law as the only way to prevent
future wars. Currently he is Adjunct Professor of
International Law at Pace University. Ken Keyes,
co-author, publishes the College Bookroom, Coos
Planethood is a distillation of the wisdom Fer-
encz has accumulated over the years, expressed
in a language so clear, straightforward, and
simple that is could be used as a text in junior
high school. This is a book for everyone! The
ideas are important to our survival and hold out
hope that the people of Planet Earth can raise
consciousness and understanding to the point at
which governments begin to substitute the force
of law for the law of force.
What is to be done? The first step is to insist on
our ultimate human right — the right to live in a
peaceful world, free from the threat of death by
nuclear war. The achievements already recorded
by the United Nations and the International
Court of Justice provide the foundation for a
lawful world. However, according to the authors,
the UN must be reformed if it is to become truly
effective. To accomplish this, the authors present
Richard Hudson's idea for the "Binding Triad,"
an ingenious design which provides "a way for
the world to make up its mind."
THE BINDING TRIAD
Hudson, founder of the Center for War/ Peace
Studies, conceived the "Binding Triad" as a
system that would increase the powers of the UN
General Assembly with sufficient authority to do
its job, but with a variety of checks and balances
to assure that this authority would not be
abused. This transformation would require only
"The voting system in the General Assem-
bly would be changed, under Article 18. Im-
portant decisions would still be made with
a single vote, but with three simultaneous
majorities within that vote. Approval of a
1 HEREBY ASSERT:
I have the
right to live
in a peaceful
The proclamation from Planethood.
resolution (which would then be an enforce-
able global law) would require a favorable
vote including, of those present and voting,
two-third majorities of the member states,
countries with that proportion of the
world's population, and nations making
two-third of the contributions to the regular
U.N. budget. The political bottom line is
that for a resolution to win approval under
the Binding Triad system, it will have to
win strong support from most of the coun-
tries of the world, most of the population of
the world, and most of the political/eco-
nomic/military strength of the world.
Under the Binding Triad amendment to
Article 13, the powers of the U.G. General
Assembly would be greatly increased; in
fact, the Assembly would be transformed
from a powerless "town meeting of the
world" into a functioning global legislature.
The amendment would provide that As-
sembly resolutions are no longer simply
recommendations, but are binding laws en-
forceable, if necessary, by peacekeeping
forces and/or economic sanctions.
However, the Assembly would be explicitly
barred from employing military forces,
which would remain the prerogative of the
Security Council. The Assembly would also
continue to be bound by the present Char-
ter provision that it cannot "intervene in
matters which are essentially within the
jurisdiction of any state." If the jurisdiction
were in doubt, the issue would be referred
to the World Court, and if the court ruled
that the question was essentially domestic,
the Assembly could not act. Most impor-
tantly, the new Assembly would pass laws
not only on peace and security questions,
but also on the environment, human rights,
economic justice, and all other issues that
are genuinely global in nature.
THE GREAT REHEARSAL
For me, the most telling argument is contained in
Chapter 3, "Become a Peace Patriot." In the
perilous days when America had no federal gov-
ernment, the decade between the successful
conclusion of the War for Independence and the
signing of the U.S. Constitution, the thirteen
nation-states were disorderly. Each sought its
own advantage and jealously clung to what it
conceived were its sovereign interests. There was
chaos and near anarchy and bitter wrangling. In
the face of this seemingly impossible situation,
the States' delegates reached a satisfactory com-
promise by agreeing to yield portions of their
sovereignty in return for the federal solution.
Thus, we became a nation where travelers can
cross state lines without passports or changing
currencies; where cities' and states' jurisdictions
have meshed compatibly, for the most part, with
federal jurisdictions; where conflicts are settled
by a court system that moves in an orderly way
from local to district to federal authority. And,
best of all, we do not have Minnesota and Iowa
at war with each other. What the delegates to the
Constitutional Convention achieved in Philadel-
phia has been called by historians a miracle.
To stretch our imaginations, we should think of
the American experience as a Great Rehearsal for
World Government. It was a magnificent ex-
ample of restraint and compromise by which the
colonies became the United States of America.
If, write Ferencz and Keyes, thirteen disparate
nation-states could choose safety, common
security, prosperity and union over tariffs, petty
conflicts and wars in the 18th century, the same
can be done in our time on a planetary basis.
This book will fill you with hope. Each of us can
participate in a federal solution for Planet Earth.
Become a Patriot for Peace.
READERS: Our editorial staff considers
this book so important that we have an
irresistible offer for you. We will send you
a free copy of Planethood (paperback, 187
pages) for a new subscription to this maga-
zine or a gift subscription. What better way
to wish your loved ones "Peace on Earth"
at the time of the Winter Solstice? See
coupon, inside back cover.
ABOUT OUR STAFF . . .
CYNTHIA OGOREK COMES ON BOARD
Freelance writer Cynthia Ogorek has joined the
staff of TCW. Cynthia brings a wide range of
skills and experience. Her degree is in philoso-
phy with minors in economics and language arts
and further study in video scriptwriting, com-
puter science, photography, Mexican art history,
and environmental and interior design. She is
published in magazines and newspapers and has
appeared as workshop panelist and consultant.
She is the President of the Calumet City Histori-
cal Society and co-founder and registrar of the
Calumet City Historical Society Museum. One of
her enthusiasms is the preservation of a land-
mark structure, one of three remaining pioneer
cabins in Cook County.
She has traveled extensively in the United States,
Europe and Mexico. Since coming on board she
has put our Zenith computer into functional
service, generating financial records, spread-
sheets and bar graphs in amazing profusion as
well as activating its word processing capabili-
ties. Cynthia came to us from The Creative
Woman Foundation where she is on the Finance
Committee and the Board of Directors. What a
treat it is to have her here! We are lucky. Read-
ers can look forward to Ogorek writing in these
pages in future issues. Welcome, Cynthia
GLORIA MORNINGSTAR IS HONORED
Our friend, Representative Loleta A. Didrickson,
again sponsored a highly successful Annual
Women Together Luncheon (co-sponsored by
this University and the Star Publications) an
event that each year honors "Five of the Finest,"
outstanding women nominated by their organi-
zations. We proudly salute the President of The
Creative Woman Foundation, Gloria Morning-
star, chosen this year for this distinguished
honor. Gloria is President of Women in Manage-
ment and Active in the Chamber of Commerce,
Small Business Council, Executive Exchange and
the American Indian Center. Our readers will
recognize her as the Co-Guest Editor of our
Women in Management issue (Winter 1989) in
which she was profiled by Claudia Snow as well
as posing for the striking cover photograph by
BETYE SAAR IS A GRANDMOTHER
Betye Saar, artist, guest editor, member of our
Editorial Board since 1977, sent us this charming
birth announcement which we share with our
readers. Kyle arrived on Bastille Day to become
Betye's first grandchild. With her three daugh-
ters, all creative women in letters and arts, Betye
Saar is a model both as an original and gifted
artist and as a mother who has nourished her
daughters' gifts. Congratulations to Betye,
Alison, Thomas Leeser and Kyle!
THOMAS LEESER AND ALISON SAAR
ANNOUNCE THE ARRIVAL OF
KYLE McBAIN LEESER
BORN ON BASTILLE DAY
JULY 14 1989, 6:05 P.M.
6 LBS. 9 0Z.
FOUR CREATIVE WOMEN
Betye, Lezley, Alison and Tracye Saar
PHOTOGRAPHER OF WOMEN
Another of those "it's a small world" phone calls:
Marylu Raushenbush called from Madison,
Wisconsin to invite me for the weekend. Her
house guest was Nina Andreyeva, whom I had
interviewed when I was in the USSR last Spring,
and who is now touring the USA. Of course I
immediately agreed to come, eager to renew an
acquaintance with Nina and to continue our
conversation about changes in the USSR and the
meanings of perestroika for Soviet women.
"Incidentally," said Marylu, "I love your maga-
"Oh? Where did you see it?"
"In Leningrad," quoth she, "In Nina's flat, where
I was photographing her for my series of Ameri-
can and Soviet Women of Consequence."
"Oh?" again. "How about letting us have a look
at your photographs for our special issue on
Soviet Women, scheduled for Winter 1990?"
Yes, indeed. So there was an additional motiva-
tion for my drive to Wisconsin. Wait. It's not
Perusing our current issue on Photography,
Walter Raushenbush discovers a portrait of his
wife (see page 29, Spring/Summer 1989) by
Susan Landgraf. Marylu was not aware that she
appeared in TCW, and, identified only by her
first name, I had no way of knowing that the
Landgraf portrait was of photographer Marylu
Such spin-offs, connections, coincidences and
surprises continue to mark the career of this little
magazine. There are many networks of women,
growing thicker, spanning the globe, getting in
touch and keeping in touch; and in our own
way, we seem to be a part of that.
Watch these pages for more about this eminent
photographer and her work in the next issue.
SHARON TENNISON SURVIVES THE
A thick packet of interviews, photographs and
poems arrived from Sharon Tennison, Center for
U.S.-U.S.S.R. Initiatives in San Francisco, our
Guest Editor for the next issue (Winter 1990). It
takes more than an earthquake to slow her
down. Sharon has recently returned from her
30th visit to the Soviet Union. She writes:
"I was at my computer doing Zena's story when
the building started creaking. We occasionally
get a rumble so I continued a few more seconds
and then started watching the walls lurch, ceiling
lights crash against each other and I headed for
the nearest structural beam. Of course you know
that the next twelve hours were a nightmare here
in SF. I think that you in other parts of the
nation knew earlier than we did because the TV
crews here for the series had battery-sustained
equipment ready for action. Since we had no
electricity, no TV, no telephone lines, we sat in a
totally dark city with nothing but candles and
the few reports that were coming in by battery-
run radios. We all had such a naive sense of
what was happening. Radio announcers contin-
ued to give updates best they could saying that
only six casualties had been reported.
In the process I lost Zena's story which needed
only final touches. I was sick because I was so
proud of how it had come out. Editing a two or
three hour interview is not an easy job I am
Stay tuned for a look at glasnost and perestroika
in the rapidly changing Soviet world. Winter,
ECCO BELLA ANNOUNCES
A CATALOG OF
FOR CONSUMERS WITH
For information or catalog
Contact Sally Malanga
6 Provost Square
Caldwell NJ 07006
"Sisterhood" continued from page 14.
A week later, Renee's wallet is returned through
the mail with $.95 postage due. All that is miss-
ing is the cash, coins, and credit cards. Safely
concealed in the back of the wallet is a tattered
black-and-white family photo.
• This year's Festival will
showcase lopes produced
by women exploring the theme:
"Women's Agenda for the New Century:
Where Do We Go From Here?"
• These tapes will be excerpted for inclusion in a live
cablecast in March 1990 and shown in their entirety on
access channels in the greater Boston area. The Festival
may be carried nationwide by the Deep Dish National
Public Access Satellite Network.
• Send us topes you have already produced that address
this year's theme.
• In addition, we ore encouraging women to conduct sets
of one-minute interviews that will serve as a common
thread throughout the Festival. Choose a location where
women gather. (Use your imagination.) Interview 5 to
10 women, one at a time. Each answer should be no
more than one minute long. Ask each woman to introduce
herself and answer the question:
"As a woman, what is the most important
issue for you as we enter the 1 990s?"
• Submissions of tapes and interviews in Ian
than English is encouraged. If possible, incl^j
English translation of the interviews and,
• We will accept 8mm, VHS, S,
in NTSC (North American) sta
• Please include a self
you are in the U.S. Do
• Deadline: January 1
• For more informatv
Abigail Norman ot 61
To request entry form, write:
International Women's Day Video Festival, P.O. Box 176, Boston, MA 02130 USA
i> LUNA PRESS \
Cf PO BOX 51 l.Kenmore Station * )
3 Boston, MA 02215 USA f)
Indiana University Press
A Journal of Feminist Philosophy
Hypatia is dedicated to the publication of scholarly
research in feminist philosophy and provides a forum not
available in other women's studies or mainstream journals.
"The scholarly papers in Hypatia will un-
doubtedly be core references in debates on
feminism, and will have application in many
social science disciplines as well." Choice
Annual subscriptions (3 issues) are available to individuals at $20 and
to institutions at $40. Further information, including bulk order
discounts, is available from:
Indiana University Press
10th & Morton Streets
Bloomington, Indiana 47405
WE ALL LIVE DOWNSTREAM
We came into the country by the inland water-
way to Skagway, then by motor coach through
the Yukon Territory, picked up a rental car in
Anchorage, and drove out the Kenai Peninsula to
Homer, Alaska. It was mid-June, less than two
months after the Exxon Valdez disaster, and we
wanted to observe the land, the people, the ef-
fects. Alaska is big country, and it was only
when we put into port at small harbors like
Wrangell and Katchimak that we met people
who seemed to feel personally affected by the
spill. A fisherman out of Homer, on Cook Inlet,
brought back a sample of the spill to show us —
a mason jar filled with something the color and
consistency of chocolate fudge, but sticky and
foul-smelling. We sensed the shock and incredu-
lity of Alaskans, many of whom had migrated to
Alaska, the "Great Land," as the last best place of
unspoiled earth. We met people who were re-
examining their Faustian bargain with the oil
industry: oil has run the State for decades, bring-
ing vast sums of money, the State being so
enriched by Alyeska royalties that citizens not
only pay no State income tax, but receive hefty
bonuses at year's end — last year about $800 for
every man, woman and child in Alaska. But now
they were wondering if they had sold their souls,
as they mournfully walked their blackened
beaches and picked up the dead birds and sea
otters. People told us that the oil company's
efforts to clean the beaches were futile, mainly
for public relations effects, and that some of their
interventions did more harm than good (such as
using steam cleaning which killed the microor-
ganisms that make up the lower links in the food
Alaskans came to the sad conclusion that their
shoreline, islands, and off-shore waters could not
be cleaned, that it was impossible, and agreed
with Barry Commoner who argues that we must
learn not to put pollutants into the environment
because once there, it's too late.
The oil spill in Prince William Sound then,
following the blistering summer of 1988, the
trashed beaches of both Atlantic and Pacific
coasts, the ominous warnings of a global warm-
ing trend and dangerous holes in the Antarctic
ozone layer... all these events served to alert us.
So, following on the Barry Commoner axiom
(control at the source), what is to be done? It
follows that we should leave fossil fuels in the
ground (leave something for the next genera-
tions) and develop alternative, renewable non-
polluting sources of energy. It follows that we
should stop producing plutonium, an element
that does not exist in nature, that has no use
except for nuclear weapons, and which is so toxic
that infinitesimal amounts are fatal. This earth
does not need plutonium. Human civilization
does not need plutonium, and indeed, is threat-
ened by it. We should dispense with unnecessary
plastic packaging, create biodegradables as
substitutes, and recycle everything that can be
recycled. We should return to a Yankee frugality
("use it up, wear it out, make it do, or do with-
out") and insist on fuel-efficient cars and appli-
ances. We should car-pool and take the train and
the bus. (But do we, I guiltily ask myself.)
It's a big order. The task may seem so daunting
as to drive us back to our old lethargic accep-
tance of waste and submission to the degradation
of air, water, food and other "quality of life"
To convince ourselves that there are tangible,
practical efforts that we can immediately put into
effect, to remind ourselves that each one of us
can make a difference, we have assembled here a
few instances of response to the current environ-
At Brookfield Farm in Amherst, Massachusetts,
87 members of a CSA (Community Supported
Agriculture) system share the farm's operating
costs in exchange for a share of its yearly harvest.
The system is elegantly simple and has a power-
ful appeal to consumers looking for fresh, pesti-
cide-free produce and dairy foods. Nicolette
Rabb, farmer, says, "Brookfield Farm is not
merely a place for raising food. It's a place
people can feel connected to." It puts people
back in touch with the land. (New Age Journal,
Sept. /Oct. 1989, page 40-43.)
"A place people can feel connected to": The welcoming
Luan Railsback's store, Alternatives, in Peoria
sold out Friends Around the World, a coopera-
tive game where everyone wins or everyone
loses. In the game, a blob sets out to destroy the
world and players compete, not against each
other, but against the blob. Railsback's shop, "A
socially responsible emporium," carries biode-
gradable, natural, recycled and /or recycling
products: non-toxic, phosphate-free household
cleaners, herbal insect repellants, solar powered
batteries, energy-saving faucet devices and non-
racist, non-violent, non-sexist toys, games, tapes
and puzzles. Co-Op America, 2100 M St., N.W.,
Suite 310, Washington, DC 20063. (202) 872-5307
or (800) 424-COOP, a clearing house for manu-
facturers of socially responsible products, is her
main supplier. (Journal Star, Peoria, 10-16-89)
Multiplied ma"" Hmo* «%»»«* ;~ towns and cities
across the nati yes grounds for
Readers who i
catalog from £
Vermont 0540 . __~
as hundreds of products
ence. Our staff member,
Oliver, ordered a variety
biodegradable food bags
ved can request a
i, Products for a
:, South Burlington,
, v± Ai . formation as well
that can make a differ-
Art Director Suzanne
of paper products and
and garbage bags, and
reports that they are all satisfactory (although the
facial tissue isn't the softest) and best of all she
likes the good feeling she gets from the sense
that she is doing her part for Gaia, dear Mother
10 Farrell Street
The new "Practical Journal for the Environment,"
Garbage, with its first two issues in circulation, is
a compendium of fascinating articles and infor-
mation. A sample of topics: "Kitchen Design for
Recycling," "Natural Pest Controls," "Global
Wanning Basics," "Home Energy," "Organic
Foods," and "Garbage to Compost." We espe-
cially seized upon "Printing Garbage on Recycled
Paper," describing the process that editor-pub-
lisher Patricia Poore went through before making
the decision to publish her new periodical on
Cross Pointe Troy Book 60# Blue-White Satin-
Thin. (Yes, that's the name of the paper, for you
readers who aren't in printing.)
435 Ninth Street
Brooklyn, NY 11215-9937
Poore was stung by the charges of friends and
readers that not to print on recycled paper was
hypocritical for a magazine devoted to saving the
environment. The publisher in her said "no way"
and the editor said "go for it." "Not only was it
the right thing to do, but also I was cocky
enough to think we could make recycled paper
look good." (Garbage, Sept. /Oct. 1989, page 50-
51) Her article threw down the gauntlet to us at
TCW and I called Bob Woodard, our printer, to
discuss. Surprisingly, he agreed that recycled
paper need not cost more and could give the
look and finish that we want for our magazine.
Thus, this is the first issue of The Creative Woman
to be printed on recycled paper. (Do you hear the
A series of three articles in the New Yorker (June
12, 19, and 26) dealt with the hazards of electro-
magnetic pollution, describing research on (1) the
effects of the step-down transformers that carry
electricity from the high-power lines and towers
into the neighborhoods to household current; (2)
household appliances such as electric blankets;
and (3) the omnipresent VDT's, millions of them
on desks of secretaries, writers, editors, stockbro-
kers, airline clerks, bank tellers and cashiers. Are
these threats and dangers real? One way to judge
is by the reaction. How do electric companies
react? I found two examples of the speed with
which industry and the entrepreneurial impulse
respond to such news - neither of them particu-
larly enlightening. National Rural Electric Coop-
erative Association runs a full page ad (Atlantic,
November 1989, p. 56) linking the sinister step-
down transformer with the icons of American
pride — the Golden Gate Bridge, the Washington
Monument and the Statue of Liberty. (Is there no
shame?) And Live Wave Electronics of Asheville,
North Carolina advertises "the Live Wave Solu-
tion" to electromagnetic pollution; for $62 you
can buy a Micro=Equalizer, purporting to "re-
balance the electromagnetic environment for
your well being." (Anyone recall Reich's Orgone
A final word: Cynthia Ogorek returned from her
vacation trip to Cape Cod with a nice little
present for me, a pin with the words
"Whatever you do may seem insignificant
but it is most important that you do it."
At the moment as I type this, it's getting late, but
there's a full moon out there, and I'm wearing
Pass it on.
This issue of
The Creative Woman
was printed on
100% recycled paper
Only the cover of this issue
is printed on recycled paper.
We will try to use it entirely
for the next publication.
Vol. 1, No. 4
Vol. 2, No. 4
Vol. 3, No. 2
Vol. 3, No. 3
Vol. 4, No. 1
Vol. 4, No. 2
Vol. 4, No. 4
Vol. 5, No. 2
Vol. 6, No. 2
Vol. 6, No. 3
Vol. 6, No. 4
Vol. 7, No. 1
Vol. 7, No. 2
Vol. 7, No. 4
Vol. 8, No. 1
Vol. 8, No. 2
Vol. 8, No. 3
Vol. 8, No. 4
Vol. 9, No. 1
Vol. 9, No. 2
Vol. 9, No. 3
Vol. 9, No. 4
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